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How To Tell When You Need a Filling

How To Tell When You Need a Filling

Did you know that dental fillings have been around since about the 1500s? Ever since, fillings have gone on to save a lot of teeth! But how can you tell when or if you actually need a dental filling?

What is a Dental Filling?

Dental fillings help us restore cavities and dental problems that would otherwise become highly problematic for our mouths. They are essentially used to “plug up” holes in our teeth left by decay, allowing teeth to remain healthy and continue functioning.

Today, most fillings are generally made of body-friendly materials like amalgam (a mix of alloys like silver, mercury and tin), composite materials (resin, glass), porcelain ceramic and even gold.

When You Need a Filling…

The only person who can really tell you if you need a filling is your dentist. They will need to examine your tooth closely, take x-rays and determine what work needs to be done to restore your tooth.

There are, however, a few signs and symptoms that can alert you to the fact that you might have a cavity in your tooth and may require a filling.

These include:

  • Pain in the tooth, including tooth aches, throbbing pains and sharp pains
  • Pain or sensitivity in the tooth when you touch it or put pressure on it (e.g. when eating, brushing)
  • A visible hole or mark that might indicate a hole exists
  • Dental floss that keeps fraying when you floss between a particular set of teeth
  • A rough or jagged feeling in the tooth when you run your tongue over it

If you don’t experience any of these symptoms, however, it is still possible that tooth decay may be present and that you will need a filling. This is often the case with smaller holes that may exist in your teeth, but that won’t necessarily cause you any pain or discomfort.

The best way to stay abreast of any teeth cavities is to ensure you visit your local dentist every 6 months for a checkup and clean.

What Happens If You Ignore the Need for a Filling?

If you fail to visit your dentist regularly or if you choose not to go ahead with a filling (for whatever reasons), the effect on your teeth can be very damaging:

  • Your tooth will continue to rot and decay
  • This can potentially cause you a great amount of pain and make eating (and other tasks) difficult or uncomfortable
  • It can cause greater infections in the mouth, such as gingivitis and gum disease
  • If left untreated, the cavity will become large, forcing the tooth to decay on a greater scale, and a root canal treatment or tooth extraction may be the only way to resolve the problem

Common Filling Questions

Here are some common questions we get asked at Somerset Dental Care about filings:

  • Will Getting a Filling Hurt? No. Your dentist will usually use a local anaesthetic to ensure that you feel little to no discomfort during your filing procedure.
  • How Long Does It Take to Get a Filling? A filling treatment will generally take around 30-60 minutes to complete. If your cavity is large, however, or if you have multiple cavities, more time may be required.
  • Are Fillings Expensive? Fillings today are generally very affordable for everyone. If you have private healthcare, your treatment costs may be partially or wholly covered as well.
  • Will My Tooth Feel Different After a Filling? Your teeth may feel a little strange straight after the treatment, but within a day or two, they should go back to feeling and performing as normal.

Do you have a filling question? Or are you experiencing pain or discomfort with a particular tooth?
Somerset Dental Care can fix it! We are a friendly dentist based in the Narellan region. To book your appointment, contact us here.