woman in dentist chair with dental curing blue light for cavity restoration

What to Expect When Getting a Cavity Filled

Our family dentists walk you through the basic filling procedure and dispel any anxieties you may have!


Although cavities (tooth decay) are quite common, they should be repaired as soon as possible. This way, you’ll avoid further pain and the need for more extensive dental work. If you’ve never had a cavity before or it’s been a while since the last time you needed a filling, we’ve put together an overview of the process and what to expect when you get a cavity filled.


Before the filling

First, you likely have visited the dentist and they have detected tooth decay which requires a filling. This can be observed visually through discoloration, by using an instrument to probe your tooth enamel for weak spots, or by x-ray. 


Teeth can be filled with a variety of materials, including gold, composite resin, metal amalgam and porcelain. Each one has certain benefits associated with the material’s cost, durability and esthetics. Your dentist may also recommend filler based on the size of the cavity and its location in your mouth.

Before the procedure, your dentist will usually take an X-ray to assess how decayed the tooth is and develop a treatment plan unique to your needs. 


During the filling

Filling a cavity is a very simple procedure. Your dentist will begin by numbing your teeth, gums and the surrounding area. If there is more than one cavity in the area, it is often best to fix them all at the same time so that you don’t have to be numbed multiple times.

Once the local anesthetic takes effect, your dentist will remove the decayed part of your tooth using an instrument that may vibrate a little. The area will then be sterilized to help prevent infection. Finally, your dentist will fill the hole with the selected material and allow it to harden.

After ensuring that your filling fits properly, your dentist will polish the tooth to create a smooth surface. Depending on the size and complexity of the filling, the entire procedure typically takes approximately 15 -45 minutes to complete.


After the filling

The area of your mouth that was treated will likely still be numb as you leave your appointment. You might even notice a little bit of drool! To avoid injuries such as biting your tongue, cheeks or lips, wait until the anesthetic wears off before eating or drinking something hot. This will take a few hours.

When you do begin to eat again, chew slowly and bite softly. Depending on the material used to fill your tooth, your dentist may recommend that you avoid eating hard or sticky foods for a period of time.

While there are no significant risks associated with filling cavities, you may experience some soreness or tooth sensitivity for a few days. It’s important to keep up with your oral care routine, even if you experience some discomfort. Prolonged tooth sensitivity or pain could indicate an irritated nerve and/or infection often due to the size or depth of the cavity. In this case you should contact us immediately.

Dental fillings get worn out from chewing and may need to be replaced periodically depending on the material used. The durability of your filling is also affected by your oral hygiene habits, grinding your teeth and how often you receive regular preventive checkups.


Schedule A Visit Your Family Dentist In Red Deer

Whether you’re looking to avoid cavities or repair them, our team at Parkland Mall Dental Centre is here to help. Book an appointment with us today!

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