Let’s talk about fillings

Woman and dentist

You’ve woken up with a throbbing tooth and of course you have to book in with the dentist in St John’s Wood. Your thoughts are confirmed when it’s discovered there’s decay in the offending back tooth. We all know that feeling, and if we don’t we can of course sympathise. Being told you need a filling comes with a whole host of negative feelings and connections. You feel like you’ve somehow let yourself down, that you’ve done wrong and neglected your teeth, but let’s be fair, we’re all human and these things happen and actually fillings are far more common than you might realise.

Why do I need a filling?

Basically a filling is used when a little hole called a cavity has formed in the tooth. The severity and size of these holes can vary, depending on how early they are caught. The symptoms that you might suffer to signify a cavity include sensitivity in the teeth or tooth, and sharp or dull pain in the tooth that is either constantly there or suddenly happens. There might also be discomfort when you drink or eat particularly hot or cold things, visible holes in your teeth, sudden stains on your teeth or pain when you bite.

What does having a filling involve?

Woman in dentist

When you visit your dentist they will talk you through all the steps taken prior to starting treatment. However, as a basic guide the following will probably happen.

First you will be given a local anaesthetic. This is done so that the area will be numb to minimise any discomfort during the procedure. Then the area of decay will be removed with a special drill or laser tool. Once the dentist believes all the area of decay has been removed they will probe the site to check for any pain and then to give it a good deep clean, so all bacteria and debris has been removed. Then they will begin to fill the area. There are a range of differing filling materials you could have the tooth filled with, porcelain, gold, silver or if you want a colour to match your teeth with a natural finish there are composite resin fillings that are less obvious in the mouth.


Once you’ve had your filling placed you might need a day or two just to rest and recover, everyone responds to this type of procedure differently and it’s important not to rush yourself in the healing process. For most people they can return to work or school on the day of the treatment, but again if you feel you need an afternoon on the sofa then do what’s right for you.

Moving forward

As mentioned tooth decay usually occurs because of a lack of thorough oral hygiene, it’s not enough to just give your teeth a quick brush once a day. You should be spending at least two to three minutes twice daily and incorporating flossing and interdental brushes into your routine. If you have any questions on this you should be speaking to your dentist when you visit them for your regular check-ups.

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