Does it seem like every time you go to the dentist, he or she is telling you that you need another filling? Dentists like Dr. Jessica Christy of Orchard Hill Dental in Hendersonville, NC want you to know the warning signs that can fill you in about if you need a filling, and also what to expect when you get a filling and how to care for them once you have them.
Why Do You Need A Filling?
When food particles and saliva form plaque, and that plaque is allowed to remain in contact on your teeth for extended periods of time due to improper brushing or because the food is sticky, then a collection of bacteria will gather to feed on it. These bacteria release digestive acids which begin to dissolve your tooth enamel. It will begin to discolor gradually depending on how much it has dissolved or weakened. If this process is allowed to continue, that portion of the tooth will eventually chip away and become what we call a “cavity” — a hole in your tooth’s enamel.
How Do You Recognize Decay?
- Dark spots or greyish black areas on your front teeth
- Chipped off areas that your tongue often goes into
- Holes where food gets stuck
If you see or are experiencing any of the above, it may be time to see your dentist.
What Does Decay Feel Like?
It can begin with mild sensitivity to cold or hot liquids or transient sensitivity when eating sweet foods and drinks. It usually progresses to prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold things, and slight pain when biting or chewing. Eventually, if it continues untreated, you may feel an electric sensation or sudden sensitivity to certain foods and constant pain that lasts for hours and needs medication to be relieved.
How Does the Dentist Choose A Filling?
Filling materials were once usually silver amalgam and later were done with cements like glass ionomer. But now the most widely used substance is plastic composite, a kind of tooth-colored material that is soft when applied but hardens while chemically bonding to your teeth when cured with a UV light.
How Much Will It Cost?
Costs of fillings can vary widely on:
- The material being used by the dentist
- Skill and experience of the dentist
- The size of the filling
- Amount of remaining tooth structure
What Should I Expect After A Filling?
A permanent filling when done with composite resin allows you to eat immediately afterwards with no precautions. At this point, your tooth is as good as new and you should be mostly unable to see where the filing was even done. You may feel some mild to moderate sensitivity in the filled tooth which should abate within 48 hours. It may take some time and use to adjust to if the filling is slightly over or under the level of your bite.
How Long Will My Filling Last?
Contrary to what you might think, fillings do not last forever, despite being made of a very hard substance. A filling usually lasts anywhere from 3-7 years on average but needs regular annual examinations to ensure it’s holding up well. If you see any discoloration, darkening, or chipping under the filling, schedule an appointment with Dr. Christy or your area dentist immediately. These signs show a breakdown and indicate the need for replacement of the filling.
Fillings in the Hendersonville, NC Area
If you are in the Hendersonville, NC area and would like a consultation with Dr. Christy about a possible cavity or any dental concern, call (828) 247-7001 or schedule online today!