Patient looking teeth in mirror at dental clinic

Understanding the Dental Restoration Process

Dental restorations, also known as fillings, restore decayed and damaged teeth to their natural feel and function. Some patients may experience anxiety heading into the procedure, but there isn’t much to worry about.

The following explains everything you need to know about the restoration process, including what to expect after the procedure.  

Diagnosis and Planning 

Before any restoration appointment, the dentist will examine your teeth and determine the best treatment option. They will use a dental probe to check affected areas and an X-ray to accurately locate decay. 

A dental filling may be a suitable solution if the tooth has minor decay. But other dental treatments, such as a crown or bridge, may be better for more severe cases. 

Many materials are used for filling a cavity to prevent additional damage and restore the tooth. Examples of filling material include: 

  • Silver amalgam
  • Glass ionomer
  • Composite resin
  • Porcelain
  • Gold 

Silver amalgam or gold fillings are more durable than composite resin but vary in color from the natural tooth. These materials are more likely to be used in less noticeable areas near the premolars and molars. 

The best material depends on the location of the filling, along with your medical history and personal finances. Once you consent to treatment, you can schedule an appointment.  

The Filling Appointment 

On the day of the appointment, the first step is to numb the treatment area with a local anesthetic. This helps keep your discomfort to a minimum throughout the procedure. 

Once the dentist confirms you are numb, they prepare your tooth for placement of the dental restoration. The dentist may isolate the affected tooth to prevent moisture from interfering with the bonding process, which could cause the filling to fail. 

The dentist will use various rotary and hand instruments to remove the decay from your tooth. An acid gel may be applied to thoroughly clean the area and remove bacteria, depending on the material used. After cleaning the tooth, a dental adhesive is applied to the cleaned area to help the material bond to the tooth, followed by placing the filling. 

The last step of a composite resin filling includes using a special light called a curing light. It shines a blue light onto the tooth surface to harden the material. After the filling is set, the dentist uses colored paper to check your bite. Then they’ll make adjustments and polish your tooth to give it a natural shine.

Post-Procedure Care 

At the end of the dental restoration, the dentist will discuss proper home care with you to help prevent decay from developing under or around the newly placed filling. 

It’s vital to practice good oral hygiene habits, like brushing and flossing daily. The dentist may recommend a fluoride mouth rinse if you are at high risk of developing additional cavities.  

After a dental restoration, you may experience discomfort when the numbness wears off. However, it should go away within 12 hours. It’s best to wait to eat until this time has passed to prevent biting your cheek or lip.  

If pain or numbness continues for an extended time after the restoration is completed, contact the dentist to verify the pain is related to the procedure and does not indicate a problem. 

Try Restorative Dentistry Today! 

Dental fillings are among the most common restorative dental procedures and are a great way to preserve your oral health. They can also increase your confidence as you show off your new smile.

Never hesitate to schedule an appointment with your dentist if you feel like you could improve your oral health. Remember that delaying any treatment could cause a dental health issue to become a more extensive (and expensive) problem. 

At Cohen Dental Care, we serve patients in the Great Neck and Briarwood area. Contact us today to learn more about our dental restoration process.