Sensitivity when eating cold or hot foods and drinks can indicate an existent or developing cavity. Bacteria or trauma can cause breaks and eventually decay in the teeth's enamel. The enamel is the tooth's first line of defense. A fracture or cavity can leave the teeth's sensitive interior susceptible to infection. Untreated, caivites can develop into root infections (please see our section on endodontic services).
Procedure: Residue and decay in the cavities are first cleaned away and removed. The cavity will then be prepped with an etching agent, a harmless slightly acidic solution that enhances adhesion. The filling material of choice will then be packed in to seal the cavity and prevent bacteria from re-entering. If resin composite fillings is being used, the material will be solidified with an ultraviolet curing light. The final step for any filling is to check the bite (natural way the top and bottom teeth make contact) and file down the surface of any part of the filling that protrudes out. Please note, filling materials require maintenance and may need to be replaced every few years or when they chip off.
Types of Filling Materials
1. Resin composite is typically used (and covered by insurance) for visible teeth because they
match the natural tooth's color. They may also be recommended for patients who show
signs of minor teeth grinding.
2. Amalgam fillings may be recommended for patient with severe grinding habits and/or for
molar teeth where their malleability is beneficial. Amalgam material can withstand pressure
better than resin composites on average.
3. Porcelain fillings, like resin composites, match the tooth's natural color. They are considered esthetic and are not covered by most insurances. They may not be recommended for certain types of cavities due to their fragility.
Before You Come In: Because local anesthesia will be used, please be prepared to be numb in one or both sides of your mouth for an average of two hours. Every patient responds differently to anesthesia and some may experience numbness up to six hours. We recommend that you eat before coming in. But don’t be hasty to assume you have a filling because of sensitivity. It’s best to let the doctor have a look to evaluate the severity.
What You Can Expect Afterwards: Sensation will typically return the same day.