When patients hear they have a cavity, they may experience a range of emotions. One common feeling we at Aten & Garofalo Family Dentistry hear is fear. Many people worry about what the process is like and, most importantly, if it hurts.

If you have recently been told you need to get a filling, we have good news for you: We can keep you as comfortable as possible during the process. More importantly, knowing what to expect helps alleviate your concerns.

Pain prevention

The first thing we do is talk to you about your cavity. We let you know where it is and even take pictures of it. Trust us: seeing the before and after is actually pretty cool. Cavities typically show up as a dark spot on the tooth. We remove that decay and then fill it in with the material of your choosing. We recommend picking one that is closely matched to your natural tooth color.

Before we do anything, our goal is to make sure you feel comfortable. Some of our patients do well with a local anesthetic, which we administer through a needle into your gums. Yes, this is a slight pinch, but it is akin to getting a vaccination: a quick second or two of discomfort.

We recognize that some people have anxiety when it comes to dental procedures. At our office, we can offer several different methods of relaxation to help ease you into the process. You and our dentist will discuss your options to determine what is best.

Post-filling advice

Once the cavity has been filled, it may take a few hours for the local anesthetic to wear off. Therefore, you may be numb, which means you should avoid chewing anything to prevent yourself from biting your cheek or lip.

Once the anesthesia is gone, you likely will not feel any pain. You may, however, experience hot and cold sensitivity for a little while on that tooth. This is completely normal, and it can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. During that time, you can use a desensitizing toothpaste to give you relief.

If any other symptoms pop up after your filling, give our office a call to discuss them. We are always here to answer your questions and address your concerns.