Don’t delay getting a cavity filled because you’re scared of possible pain. The procedure will actually save you from future complications — and more pain.
Suppose your dentist says you need a cavity filled. Your first reaction is, how much is it going to hurt? Getting a cavity filled may hurt a bit, but not as much as you think it will.
Better to brave the slight pain of a cavity filling now than postpone treatment. If the decay reaches further into the tooth, you may need a more extensive and painful root canal or extraction. Filling the cavity will save your tooth and you from further trouble.
So how much pain can I expect from getting a cavity filled?
Your dentist will first numb the area around your tooth with a local anesthetic gel. Lidocaine and Benzocaine are the two most commonly used anesthetics for dental fillings. If you are extremely sensitive or nervous, your dentist may administer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to calm your nerves.
Next, the pain level associated with filling a cavity depends on a couple of factors:
Size. Size matters when it comes to filling a cavity. A small cavity that hasn’t reached the tooth’s pulp where the nerve endings lie can be quickly treated in a 20 to 30-minute visit. You shouldn’t feel any pain with local anesthetic as the dentist removes the decayed area. If you don’t like the sound of the drill, listen to music or a podcast.
A cavity deeper within the tooth closer to the pulp may potentially be more painful. It may also require more time in the dentist’s chair. But again, anesthesia will make the experience more pleasant.
Number. If you have several cavities in the same area of the mouth, your dentist will recommend getting them filled all at once. That could mean an extended procedure and more discomfort. You also may experience minor jaw pain from keeping your mouth open for a longer time.
You can also develop root cavities, or decay near the tooth’s root. If the root is exposed due to gum recession, decay can quickly grow because the root isn’t protected by enamel. However, a root cavity can be treated like any other cavity if caught early.
After filling the cavity, your tooth and gums may feel sensitive for a day or two. Avoid extremely hot or cold foods. Contact your dentist if the pain worsens or if you notice swelling or pus around the tooth. You may have an infection that needs further treatment.
Don’t want to get a cavity filled? Prevent one!
The best way to avoid the pain of getting a cavity filled is to prevent decay in the first place. And that means following good dental hygiene practices, such as:
Brushing and flossing every day. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste reduces bacteria on your teeth and gums. Bacteria mix with acids from some foods and cause decay. Floss every night to get to the hard-to-reach places between your teeth.
Limiting sugar. Candy and sugary drinks are the leading causes of cavities. Limit those treats for an occasional indulgence.
Seeing your dentist regularly. Don’t miss those twice-yearly dental visits. Teeth cleanings by a hygienist will remove bacteria and plaque that cause decay and gum disease. The appointments also allow your dentist to catch cavities in the earliest stages. And when treated early, getting a cavity filled is nearly painless!
Get that cavity filled now!
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Oklahoma City location today! Our highly trained dentists will make sure getting a cavity filled is as painless as possible. Don’t live near our Oklahoma City office? Find one of our other locations near you.
Oklahoma City, OK
12448 St Andrews Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73120