Cavities, unfortunately, are a fairly common dental issue. While they’re easy to prevent with regular brushing and flossing, they do still happen, and when they do, a dental filling is the answer to treating them.

What is a dental filling?

When a tooth has developed some decay, that decay must be removed and the tooth structure replaced. A dental filling, also referred to as direct restoration, is made of composite, porcelain, or amalgam and is used to replace the missing tooth structure.

How are fillings placed?

Many patients feel anxious about having a filling placed, but this is unnecessary. The procedure is quick and painless as a numbing agent is used on the area of the mouth being treated; the most that a patient would feel is a vibration as the tooth is drilled.

During the first part of the procedure, the decay is removed from the tooth, which requires some drilling. The second part of the procedure involves the actual filling. A popular material used now is composite because it is safe and can be matched to the color of the natural tooth. The filling is placed into the tooth, bonded to the tooth surface, and shaved down to provide the perfect fit.

How much do dental fillings cost?

For a patient who does not have insurance, the cost of the filling depends on the filling material used. An amalgam filling will typically cost from $75 to $200 while a white composite filling could cost $100-300 each.

What can patients expect after the procedure?

The numbing agent will take a few hours to wear off, but once it does, the mouth should feel as good as normal. Some patients report feeling mild discomfort even after it wears off, but this could actually be from the injection site and should wear off eventually as well. Regular brushing and flossing should be resumed to avoid future problems with tooth decay and the need for additional fillings or more invasive dental procedures.

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