The Dental Filling Process: Step-by-Step Guide

Here are the steps in getting a dental filling to prepare you for the process better.

Did you know that about 90% of people in the US above 20 years old have at least one cavity in their teeth? We don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but all the sugary treats you eat and neglecting oral hygiene will come back to haunt you as dark holes in your teeth called cavities. These occur when mouth bacteria consume sugar and produce acid as a by-product, eroding teeth.

Cavities cause tooth pain and quickly spread to the neighboring teeth if left untreated. Tooth fillings are among the most effective treatments for cavities. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the dental filling procedure, from diagnosis to completion.

What Is Dental Filling?

A dental filling is a restorative dental treatment for restoring teeth damaged by dental decay. It involves removing the decayed portion of the tooth and filling it with filling material to restore the tooth to its original form.

Steps Involved In Tooth Filling

A tooth filling is a relatively short dental procedure, usually taking less than an hour. Below are the steps involved:

  • Step 1: Diagnosis and Examination – The first step in the dental filling involves a comprehensive teeth examination. The dentist will inspect your teeth for cavities and take X-rays to determine the extent of dental decay. Next, they’ll create a treatment plan for your dental filling, detailing the steps, medication, and dental professionals in charge.
  • Step 2: Anesthesia and Tooth Isolation – With the treatment plan in place, the dentist will inject lidocaine into the gums to numb the tooth and surrounding areas. Next, they’ll place a rubber dam around the affected tooth. This dam stops saliva flow to the tooth, ensuring a dry tooth to work on.
  • Step 3: Removal of Decayed Parts and Tooth Preparation – Next, the dentist will use a dental drill or laser to carefully remove the affected tooth’s decayed areas. This creates a clean slate for the filling material and eliminates activity-causing bacteria from the tooth. Once removed, the dentist will shape the cavity to accommodate the filling material better.
  • Step 4: Filling Material Selection and Placement – The filling placement forms the crux of the process, but the dentist must first select the filling material. Options include glass ionomer, amalgam, composite resin, and others. The best option is based on the tooth’s location, the extent of dental decay, and other factors. Once selected, the dentist will carefully place the filling material in layers and harden it with a special curing light.
  • Step 5: Shaping and Final Examination – The dentist will polish the filling material and shape it to match your tooth’s natural contours. They’ll ask you to bite into a thin sheet to register your bite. If everything checks out, the dentist will release you with guidelines for adequately caring for your teeth.

Dentist for Your Dental Fillings

The dental filling process is a routine and relatively quick dental procedure. It aims to restore the health and functionality of your tooth while maintaining its natural appearance. With a firm understanding of the process, you should be more than ready for your dental filling appointment.

Updated: October 13, 2023

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