Facts on Dental Fillings

One of the most common dental procedures is the dental filling.

The most common reasons for a dental filling are tooth decay but others may include cracked or broken teeth, teeth that have been worn down from unusual use such as biting nails, or teeth grinding (bruxism) or in some cases the anatomy of how your teeth form.

Our team at Dental at the Met in Calgary will work with you ensure you have a comfortable experience regardless of whether this is your first filling experience or your tenth.

Steps to a Dental Filling

The first steps in the process includes cleaning the tooth surfaces which needs to be prepared. This is also called “debridement” as we are often removing decaying tooth tissue.

Once the tooth has been prepared and the decay has been removed, the dentist will then shape the space for the particular filling.

Different types of filings have different space requirements to improve the strength of the restoration for a longer period of time. The dentist may put in a base or a liner to help protect the tooth’s pulp (the center of the tooth which consists of nerve tissue, blood vessels and other “softer” tissue).

This layer acts a shield to help prevent the nerve tissue from reacting to the filling material. In some cases however, even these layers cannot prevent a deeply decayed tooth from being sensitive and needing further treatment.

After the filling is shaped your dentist will have to harden the filling through the use of a special light. He or she may layer the filling multiple times and shine the light in between layers to harden it each time.

This cures (hardens) the material and makes it stronger. Once this is complete, the dentist will use the handpiece to finish and polish the tooth to make sure it is smooth and to ensure that the bite is correct.

If your dentist notes that the teeth are hitting in an area where they should not hit this can be adjusted. Often-times, if you’ve been anesthetized for the filling you won’t be able to bite properly. If this is the case, you may need to return once the anesthetic has worn off to have the tooth or teeth adjusted more.

After getting a dental filling 

Some people may experience sensitivity after getting their filling. Recently filled teeth may experience sensitivity to pressure, air, sweets, or hot and cold foods. Some may even experience pain in the area after the anesthesia has worn off due to the filling being too high. 

Another potential cause of discomfort may be from what is known as Galvanic Shock. It is caused when two dissimilar metals touch in an electron rich environment (saliva is full of electrons) producing an electric current. This would happen for example if you had a previous crown placed and a new metallic filling or metallic crown is placed on the opposing tooth. Once the two teeth meet the electric current may travel between the two metals.

Keep in mind that you should tell your dentist about any sensitivity that you may be experiencing after your filling. Being honest and open about your experience will help our team to better assist you and your loved ones in all your future visits.

And most importantly, don’t forget to continue your daily hygiene practice to ensure your fillings last for many years to come.