If you’re experiencing signs of a tooth cavity, you’re far from alone. According to the American Dental Association, an estimated 91% of Americans over the age of 20 have had at least one cavity in their lifetime. Worse, an estimated 27% have cavities that have gone untreated.
But if you’ve been putting off your dental visit because you’re not sure what to expect from the procedure, it’s time to take a good look at the process. Getting a dental filling isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds, and knowing what will happen at your dentist’s office can help soothe your stress. Here’s what you should know about the process.
What Is a Dental Filling?
A dental filling can be used to protect a damaged tooth from further decay. As the name suggests, fillings fill in the space where tooth decay once was, making the damaged area immune to future decay.
It’s worth noting, however, that tooth onlays are another option for those who have extensive tooth damage. To learn more about them, check out this page.
What to Expect from a Dental Filling Procedure
If you’ve come in for a cavity dental filling, you can expect the procedure to take about an hour or less.
If your dentist hasn’t already taken x-rays, they may choose to do so before the procedure. Once ready, the dentist will numb the surrounding teeth and gums to help reduce your pain or discomfort.
Next, they will use a drill to remove your tooth decay, replacing it with a filling. For minimally damaged teeth, this process can take just a few minutes, though it can take longer for extensive damage.
You can expect to experience numbness in the area around the tooth for a few hours more.
As for the dental filling cost, it can vary according to your chosen dentist, the complexity of the procedure, the filling material, and your insurance coverage. However, on average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $110 to $240 without insurance. Check your insurance literature to see what percentage of dental fees the company covers.
Types of Dental Filling Material
There are many options available when it comes to filling your tooth. Here are the most common materials to choose from:
- Amalgam: These are strong, long-lasting, silver-colored fillings often used on the back teeth
- Composite: Though not as strong as amalgam, these fillings can be shaded to match the color of your teeth
- Ceramic: Made of porcelain, these expensive fillings are hard-wearing, long-lasting, and somewhat expensive
- Metals: Gold or silver metals can be pricey, but some people prefer the appearance of them over tooth-colored fillings
- Glass ionomer: These fillings are fairly weak and often used only on baby teeth
Talk to your dental provider to learn which dental fillings would be best for your needs and budget.
Set Up an Appointment Today
If you’re worried about getting a dental filling, it’s time to put your fears aside. This simple process takes very little time, and your dentist can work with you to address any questions and concerns you may have on the front end. Schedule an appointment today, and get rid of that tooth decay!
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