How Long Does It Take to Fill a Cavity?

How Long Does It Take to Fill a Cavity?

Don’t think you have the time to get a cavity filled? Guess what — it doesn’t take that long, and it’s worth your time in the long run.

Do you have a toothache that won’t go away? It might be a cavity! If you’re thinking that filling a cavity is time-consuming, you can stop worrying. The reality is that filling a cavity doesn’t take long.

In fact, the entire procedure typically takes no more than an hour. Taking the time now to fix the cavity will prevent serious dental problems in the future.

How long does it take to fill a cavity?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 90 percent of adults over the age of 20 have had at least one cavity. Filling a cavity is one of the most common dental procedures, and your dentist likely has a lot of practice doing it. Here’s what you can expect from the procedure:

Before the filling. Before the actual filling is done, your dentist will numb the gums around the tooth with a local anesthetic. You may feel a slight pinch, but not much else. It takes a few minutes for the numbing agent to take effect, but once it does, you shouldn’t experience any pain as the tooth is filled.

The filling process. Your dentist will then remove the decayed part of the tooth enamel with a drill and sterilize the hole. Some dentists may use a laser or air abrasion tool. Then, the filling material is applied. Several types of filling materials are available. Metal amalgams — a durable and affordable combination of mercury, silver, tin, and copper — are most frequently used in fillings. Some patients opt for a composite composed of glass or quartz particles and acrylic resin, but fillings can also be made of porcelain or gold. To finish, the dentist will smooth the edges of the filling to ensure a comfortable bite.

The setting process. The filling must be set before it’s completely secure in the tooth. While amalgam fillings need an hour to set, composite fillings can seal in seconds.

After the filling. After the anesthesia wears off, your mouth may feel slightly sore for a couple of hours. There also may be lingering sensitivity for a few days, so you can take over-the-counter pain medications as needed. During this time, avoid sugary or acidic foods, or foods and drinks at extremely hot or cold temperatures, as such foods could irritate your mouth. Use the other side of your mouth to chew, and try to brush and floss gently around the treated tooth. A cavity filling rarely leads to complications and should last for many years. However, if you experience persistent pain or signs of an infection, contact your dentist as soon as possible.

Preventing a filling. Naturally, you want to avoid getting a filling altogether! You can do that by brushing and flossing daily to remove decay-causing bacteria. Limit sugary drinks and treats that produce the acids that foster bacteria growth. Most importantly, never miss those twice-yearly dental visits for a thorough tooth cleaning. Although these appointments take time out of your schedule, they could save you from needing a cavity filling.

Don’t delay getting a cavity filled

​​Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Norman, Oklahoma, location today! Our highly trained dentists will treat and fill your cavity in no time at all. Don’t live near our Norman, OK, office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Norman, OK
550 24th Ave. S.W.
Norman, OK 73069