To treat a cavity your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then “fill” the area on the tooth where the decayed material was removed. You need a filling when tooth decay has caused a cavity to form on a tooth surface. If you don’t get a filling, the cavity will get worse. It may cause pain and then an abscess. This may lead to more severe problems, such as bone loss.
Composite resins, or tooth-colored fillings, provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small- to mid-size fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from the constant stress of chewing. They can be used on either front or back teeth. They are a good choice for people who prefer that their fillings look more natural.
To fill a tooth, your dentist will:
- Numb your teeth, gums, tongue, and surrounding skin.
- Sometimes use a small rubber dam to target the decayed tooth and to stop liquid and tooth chips from entering your mouth and throat.
- Drill out all the decay and replace it with a filling.
After your dentist has filled the cavity, your lips and gums may remain numb for a few hours until the numbing medicine wears off. To avoid injuring your mouth, be careful not to chew on your numb lip or cheek.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling. You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment.