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A filling is a material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after the dentist removes any tooth decay. To fill a tooth, your dentist will numb (freeze) the area, drill out the decay, and put in a filling. There are many types of fillings.
Fillings can be made from many types of material. Talk to your dentist about which type would be best for you.
After your dentist has filled the cavity, your lips and gums may stay numb (frozen) for a few hours until the numbing medicine wears off. To avoid injuring your mouth, be careful not to chew on your numb lip or cheek.
Your filled tooth may be sensitive to heat and cold for days to weeks after you get the filling. Talk to your dentist about toothpastes that may help you with this discomfort. Tell your dentist if the discomfort in your tooth lasts longer than you expect after biting, or if your teeth are too sensitive after you get a filling. These problems can usually be treated.
You need a filling when your tooth has decay. If you don't get a filling, the tooth decay will get worse. Untreated, the cavity will get larger, destroying more of the tooth structure and it may cause pain and infection. This may lead to more severe problems.
A filling repairs the tooth and stops tooth decay. Over a long period of time, you may need to replace a worn-out filling.
There is almost no risk involved in having a cavity filled. If the tooth decay is too close to the nerve, you may need a root canal treatment or have the tooth removed.
Adaptation Date: 3/2/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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