I’m Getting a Dental Filling – What Can I Expect?

Dental Filling on Woman

Even if you take good care of your teeth, it’s still possible you might need a filling now and then. Fillings are used to fill cavities and protect healthy tooth enamel. Getting a filling is one of the simplest and safest dental procedures.

Let’s look at common questions about fillings:

Does Getting a Tooth Filled Hurt?

No. While you may feel light pressure, you should not feel pain getting a filling. That’s even true during drilling. Before the procedure begins, patients receive topical anesthetic that numbs the area to be worked on. Any incidental discomfort should be mild and brief.

How Long Does a Filling Take?

Getting a filling can be remarkably quick. It depends on how many teeth will be treated and whether other procedures need to be performed. Most patients are done within 30 minutes. A few are in the chair for about an hour. Each individual dental filling takes a few minutes.

If you have multiple teeth that need to be filled, they will almost always all be done at the same time. This makes treatment more convenient for you.

Are There Side Effects or Recovery Time?

No. Anesthetic for the filling procedure only produces local numbness, no other symptoms. You are able to go about your day normally as soon as your procedure is done. You may notice the tooth feels slightly different or bigger, but you’ll be used to it in a few days.

What’s the Typical Tooth Filling Process?

The filling process begins with your dentist applying local anesthetic to the teeth and gums so you will be comfortable throughout the procedure. Once it has taken effect, the tooth is drilled to remove decay, then the damaged material is replaced with a filling.

How Long Do Fillings Last?

With proper dental care, most fillings will last about 20 to 30 years. As fillings age, replacing them is easy. Your dentist can consult your records to know exactly what size the new filling needs to be, so the process is often quicker than getting the original filling.

What Are Fillings Made From?

In the past, most fillings were made from silver amalgam. Today’s patients prefer fillings that more closely mimic the natural color of teeth. Most fillings are made from composite resin, a combination of ceramic and plastic compounds. These fillings are both beautiful and durable.


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