Do I Need a Filling?

dental filling cavities va beach dentistDo you feel as if the dentist tells you need another filling at each and every visit? Dentists like the professionals at Coastal Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry in Virginia Beach, VA want you to know the warning signs that can tell you if you might need a filling, what to expect when getting a one and how to care for them afterward.

Why Do You Need A Filling?

When food particles and plaque are stuck on your teeth for an extended period of time due to infrequent brushing and flossing or because the food is sticky, then a collection of bacteria accumulate to feed on this buildup. These bacteria release digestive acids that begin to dissolve the enamel — the hard outer layer of your teeth. This is tooth decay and, if allowed to continue, the afflicted portion of the tooth will eventually chip away and become a “cavity” — a hole in your tooth’s enamel.

How Do You Recognize Decay?

  • Dark spots or grayish 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 feeling any of the above, it may be time to see your dentist.

What Does Decay Feel Like?

Tooth decay usually begins with a mild sensitivity to cold or hot liquids or passing sensitivity when eating sweet food. Eventually, this becomes a prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold consumables, and mild pain when biting or chewing. If allowed to continue untreated, you may feel an electric sensation or sudden sensitivity when eating certain foods and constant pain that lasts for hours and requires medication to be relieved.

How Does the Dentist Choose A Filling?

Filling materials were once usually silver amalgam but later were made of cements like glass ionomer. In the modern era of dentistry, the most widely used substance is plastic composite, a kind of soft, tooth-colored material that 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 done with a composite resin should be safe to eat on immediately afterwards with no precautions. At that point, your tooth is as good as new and you should not even be unable to see where the filing was done. There may be a feeling of mild to moderate sensitivity in the recently filled tooth which should subside within the first 48 hours. It may more time and wear to adjust to the feel of the filling if it is slightly over or under the level of your bite.

Preventing Tooth Decay

Decay or cavities can be prevented through procedures such as applying sealants in the fissures of teeth to prevent food from becoming stuck in teeth or applying fluoride to attract more calcium to the enamel, protecting it from being broken down by bacterial acid. Fillings really only need the same routine home oral hygiene that your teeth already require, including daily brushing, mouthwash and flossing.

How Long Will My Filling Last?

Fillings do not last forever despite what many believe. A filling will usually last its’ recipient anywhere from 3-7 years on average but needs regular annual examinations by your dentist to ensure it’s holding up well. If you see any discoloration, darkening, or chipping under the filling, schedule to see your dentist as soon as possible as these are signs that indicate the need for replacement of the filling.

If you are in the Virginia Beach, VA area and would like a consultation with one of our caring and compassionate dentists at Coastal Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry about a possible cavity or any dental concern, call (757) 453-7657 for our Laskin Road office or (757) 264-6361 for our Haygood Road office or schedule an appointment online today!