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Cool molar wearing sunglasses

What are fillings?

Fillings are a common restorative dental procedure used to repair damage to your tooth caused by a cavity. Getting a filling typically takes about an hour and is entirely pain-free.

Fillings are incredibly common. One study found that the average American has three dental fillings while 25% of the population has 11 fillings or more.

Do fillings require more than one appointment?

Getting a filling typically takes a single appointment. First, the Nashville Smile Creations team conducts an oral exam and orders X-rays to determine the extent of the decay.

After reviewing this information, they administer a local anesthetic and carefully remove the decaying portion of your tooth enamel.

Once we have removed the damaged portion of your tooth, we clean it with an antiseptic solution and fill the hole with a thin layer of composite resin.

Next, we point a light at your tooth that hardens the material. We repeat these steps several times until the filling restores your tooth to its near-original size and strength. Once the filling is dry, we check your bite and polish your tooth.

How long do fillings take?

An appointment for a filling typically takes an hour or less. However, the length of time you spend in the dentist's chair depends on the severity of the decay, the integrity of your tooth, and your oral health history. In some cases, filling a small cavity takes as little as 20 minutes.

What's the recovery process after getting a filling?

After your filling appointment, it's normal to experience increased tooth sensitivity and mild discomfort once the anesthesia wears off. To reduce tooth sensitivity, Nashville Smile Creations recommends:

  • Eating soft foods for at least a day

  • Avoiding acidic foods

  • Using a desensitizing toothpaste

  • Brushing and flossing gently around the filling

If the pain or sensitivity lasts for more than a few hours, you might also want to take an over-the-counter medication like a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID).

Are fillings right for me?

To determine if fillings are right for you, the Nashville Smile Creations team conducts an oral exam and reviews your oral health history.

If you have an easily treatable minor cavity, you'll likely qualify. However, if your tooth is severely damaged, we may recommend a crown instead.

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