You’ve Discovered a Cavity. Now What?

Do you suspect you have a cavity or has the dentist told you that you have one? In either case, you'll want to have your tooth looked at and filled as soon as possible. Treating cavities right away is important. You don't want your tooth decay to worsen, get bigger, or have it cause other dental problems. Filling cavities is a commonly performed procedure by dentists and staff at Lake Harbor Dentistry. Here's what to expect when preparing to have a tooth filled.


The good news is there is no need to worry about the procedure. With the advancements in techniques, technology, and anesthesia, fillings are nearly pain-free today. The procedure is relatively simple and can take place in a single office visit. First, the dentist will examine your teeth, take an image or review imaging depending on where you are at in the discovery phase of determining you have a cavity and where it is in your mouth. Next, staff will prepare and set up for the actual procedure. During the visit, you will receive a local anesthetic like Novocaine in the gum area near where the dentist will work on your tooth. The shot may be uncomfortable, but it only feels like a pinch and may hurt for a few seconds just as the needle breaks the surface of the gum. This will help numb the area they will work on in your mouth and help prevent you from feeling any pain during the procedure. A topical anesthetic gel may also be used before the injection to help alleviate discomfort from where the needle is inserted.

After your gums are numb, the dentist will get right to work using a small, quiet, dental drill to perform this procedure. After the decayed material is removed, the area will be cleaned before placing the filling. Composite fillings are the most popular dental filling option as they match the color of your teeth. Other choices may include ceramic or porcelain, but they can be abrasive if they hit up against nature teeth. After the dentist has filled the tooth they will shape and polish it. Ultraviolet light may also be used before polishing. Finally, your bite is checked, and any adjustments needed are made at that time. You are good to go.

Typically, you can return to a normal routine after the procedure, but you may feel numb for a couple of hours. Also, you may experience some tooth sensitivity for the first few days or weeks so you may need to avoid foods that are too hot or too cold. If for any reason you have continued discomfort or pain, check back with the dentist. You may need to have your bit readjusted.

Remember, your smile can be your greatest asset both in your personal life and in business. It pays to take care of your teeth! If you’d like more information or would like to make an appointment with one of the dentists on staff, please contact us to schedule an appointment.