Do you have a toothache? How to know when you need a filling

Written by gentle_24

October 10, 2023

Generally, we call the dentist when we are experiencing a toothache, but did you know you may need a filling even if you are not experiencing pain or discomfort?

Teeth fillings

Fillings are used to repair and protect your teeth from further damage. Generally, they are used to restore cavities which are small holes in your teeth caused by decay. Cavities only take a few days to develop and so it is extremely important to come in for your regular dental check-ups to ensure your teeth are being fully assessed on a regular basis – this is your best method of keeping your teeth strong and healthy.

Decay can form from a number of different causes. Most commonly oral hygiene methods and diet play the most important role. Sugars found in foods and drinks and small pieces of foods can stick to teeth either on the surface or in between the gaps. If food is not properly removed from teeth by brushing and flossing, bacteria can start to break the food down on the tooth surface. The bacteria in the mouth turn sugars into acids which attack tooth enamel and if left long enough continue into the tooth structure.

After removing the decayed matter, your dentist will fill the small hole with a filling which restores the function of your tooth as well as protecting it from further damage.

How do I know when I need a filling?

There are some indications that you may have developed a cavity. These include:

  • Toothache
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods
  • A visible mark or discolouration of the tooth
  • A rough feeling on the tooth when you run your tongue against it

However, as mentioned earlier, cavities can occur relatively quickly and often without any symptoms at all. The only person who will know for sure whether you need a filling will be your dentist. At Gentle and Caring Dentistry, Dr Irani will first assess the tooth and then perform an X-ray to determine the extent of the decay. From there, she will be able to discuss with you your best options for repair and talk you through the process of receiving a filling. Sometimes, when decay is very severe, we will suggest another option for your restoration which may involve an inlay or onlay.

Gentle dental

Gentle and Caring Dentistry have a commitment to providing a patient focussed approach to dentistry. Sometimes patients experience some level of fear when they have a toothache or discomfort in their mouth. It is very important to not let this fear overwhelm you or discourage you from receiving the treatment you need. Pain is the body’s way of telling you that you something is wrong. We will make every conceivable effort to make the process as pain-free and enjoyable as possible, you can rest assured you will be looked after by Dr Irani and the team.

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