Frequently Asked Questions
What are signs that I might have a cavity?
If your tooth is feeling sensitive to heat, cold, or sugary foods and beverages, you may have a cavity. Another sign includes feeling pain when chewing or biting down on your “sensitive side”.
A toothache may occur, but this depends on the severity of your cavity. Most minor cavities typically won’t cause you major pain or discomfort.
In some cases, you might see a cavity with your naked eye. If you look at your tooth and see small holes, pitting, or black/brown stains, it may be a cavity.
How do fillings protect my teeth?
By removing the decayed enamel and sealing your tooth with dental resin or metal amalgam, fillings protect your tooth from further damage. This treatment halts the progression of the cavity, preventing it from getting larger and potentially causing a tooth infection. The filling helps protect the underlying tooth structure, and ensures that your tooth remains strong.
Are dental fillings painful?
Nope! Getting a dental filling is virtually painless. Your dentist will apply local anesthesia to ensure your mouth is numbed during the entirety of the procedure. Getting a filling is a fast process, too. Most fillings are finished in about 30-60 minutes.
If you’re nervous at the dentist’s office, you can ask for laughing gas during the procedure. Laughing gas can ensure that you feel no pain, anxiety, or discomfort throughout the process. Just contact your dentist to see if laughing gas is right for you.
My tooth doesn’t hurt. Why do I need a filling?
Not all cavities cause pain or sensitivity. Usually, a toothache is a symptom of an infected tooth, which must be treated with a root canal instead of a filling. Seeing your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and an exam will help you prevent cavities altogether. These regular visits will also help your doctor find the issues when they’re still small and relatively easy to treat.
When a cavity or an oral injury is left untreated, it destroys the outer layers of your tooth, exposing the vulnerable pulp that lives inside. Root canal therapy and either a dental filling or dental crown can seal your tooth and prevent further damage. This process is more complex, time-consuming, and expensive than having a cavity filled.
What if my cavity is too deep or too large?
If you have a very deep or large cavity, a filling may not be the appropriate treatment to strengthen and restore your tooth. In these cases, your dentist may recommend an alternative treatment, like a dental inlay or onlay, or a dental crown. These treatments are more effective at protecting and restoring teeth that have been severely damaged by decay, and will provide better results.