Does it feel like every dental visit results in you needing another filling? Dentists like Dr. V. Lynn Morgan of Severna Park, MD want you to know the warning signs for needing a filling, what to expect during the procedure, and what to do afterwards.
Why Do You Need A Filling?
Over 500 different bacteria species live in the mouth. These bacteria feed off of leftover food particles remaining on the teeth, which produces acids that break down tooth enamel. When the enamel is stripped away, it leaves a small hole called a cavity, which exposes the sensitive tissues inside of the tooth. To prevent infection, discomfort, and even tooth loss, cavities need to be filled.
How Do You Recognize Decay?
If you’re experiencing any of the following signs of tooth decay, you might want to make an appointment with your dentist:
- Dark spots or grey-ish black areas on your front teeth
- Chipped off areas that your tongue often goes into
- Holes where food gets stuck
Tooth decay starts off as feeling like mild sensitivity to hot or cold liquids, or transient sensitivity when eating something sweet. After that, tooth decay progresses to more prolonged sensitivity to extreme temperatures and you may even experience slight pain when biting or chewing. Over time, if left untreated, you might find it impossible to chew using the affected tooth and feel constant pain that requires medication.
What Should I Expect After A Filling?
Permanent fillings that are performed using a composite that hardens under a UV light allows you to eat right away without a waiting period. Your tooth will be good as new and you won’t be able to see where the filling was done. There may be some residual sensitivity in the filled tooth which will subside in a few days. The filling should have been made level with your teeth so you won’t feel it, either.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Decay or cavities can be prevented by preventive procedures such as applying sealants in the fissures of teeth to prevent food lodging in teeth or applying fluoride to attract more calcium and protect the tooth from breakdown by bacterial acid. Once done, fillings can be maintained by proper oral hygiene at home including daily brushing, mouthwash and flossing.
How Long Will My Filling Last?
Contrary to popular belief, fillings do not last forever. A filling usually lasts anywhere from 3-7 years on average but needs regular annual examinations to ensure it’s holding up well. If you see any discoloration, darkening, or chipping under the filling, schedule to see your dentist immediately. These signs show a breakdown and indicate the need for replacement of the filling.
If you are in the Severna Park, MD area and would like a consultation with Dr. Morgan about a possible cavity or any dental concern, call (410) 415-9015 or schedule online today!