The Process of Getting a Dental Filling

Getting a filling is a standard dental procedure. Essentially, it is a repair job meant to fix the damage caused by tooth decay. It is painless and relatively fast, but it might not feel like it while sitting in the dental chair. Fortunately, knowing what to expect can help you feel better and less anxious. 

Nowadays, cavities are prevalent. The World Health Organization estimates that about two billion adults have untreated cavities. That makes it the most common dental problem worldwide. Dental fillings help prevent further tooth decay and allow the teeth to function as expected. 


What to Expect

Do you have a cavity? If so, there is no cause to panic. The standard treatment option is to substitute decayed tooth material with dental fillings made from amalgam, gold, ionomers, resin, or ceramic. 

The process may seem frightening, but it is relatively straightforward when performed by a qualified dentist. When you make an appointment, you can expect to be with your dentist for at least an hour. During this time, your dentist will perform dental X-rays, if necessary, discuss your options, and then do the procedure. 


Numbing the Treatment Area

Before your dentist starts the procedure, they will numb your gums, teeth, and adjoining skin to lessen the pain you experience. Dentists rub a jelly-like substance on the damaged tooth and its surrounding to numb the treatment area. Your dentist will then inject the affected tooth with an anesthetic. You may also get nitrous oxide to calm you down if dental work makes you nervous. 


Placement of a Rubber Dam

Sometimes, dentists may place a rubber sheet in the patient’s mouth to allow easy access to the damaged tooth. The sheet also helps stop tooth chips or liquid from getting into the mouth or down the throat. 


Removing the Decay

Next, your dentist will drill out the decayed material in your tooth using an air abrasion tool, drill, or laser. That may sound painful and scary, but the numbing and anesthetic applied at the commencement of the procedure will significantly reduce the pain. Your dentist will clean the treatment area carefully when your tooth is free of decay. 


Applying the Filling

When the dentist removes the decayed material, you will have a space in your tooth. At this point, your dentist will fill the hole with any of the materials mentioned earlier. It is necessary to fill the gap to prevent bacteria buildup and protect your teeth from further decay. The dentist will then take a few minutes to file and smooth the treated tooth to ensure it does not interfere with chewing. 

Following the procedure, the numbness in your mouth may persist until the anesthetic wears off. Avoid chewing using the affected tooth or eating hot meals during this period to ensure you do not injure yourself. The treated tooth may be sensitive to heat and cold for several days after the treatment, but the sensitivity should wear off on its own.



Dental fillings usually pose no significant risk. You should call your dentist if you have any complications or inquiries. Ensure you follow your dentist’s recommendations to enjoy the best possible results. 

For more about dental fillings, visit Fei Hwang, D.D.S. Milpitas Family and Cosmetic Dentist, at our Milpitas, California office. Call (408) 729-7882 to schedule an appointment today.

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