Cavity filling, or tooth filling, is not a complicated process. Almost every dentist offers it as a service. Finding a dentist that you like and trust can be a bit more involved process.
Normally, dental experts recommend taking the time to research and review several local offices so that you can find a dentist that is the right fit for you. This can take time, however. If you have an immediate need—for example, if you have severe tooth pain, or a tooth chip—you will probably be in need of a dentist’s services right away.
We recommend these three easy steps for finding a dentist quickly who can handle your tooth-filling needs:
Step 1. Use our handy search tool to find offices in your area. Our search tool will find several qualified offices in your area. Choose one that is close to you.
Step 2. Call and set an appointment to come in for treatment. Call the office and arrange for an appointment. Usually, the first visit by a new dental patient is simply a consultation. If you need more immediate treatment, make sure that the office knows this. If you are in pain, let them know where the pain is, how bad the pain is, and how long it has been with you. The person taking your appointment might have follow-up questions, or may just schedule an appointment with the dentist sooner rather than later.
Keep in mind that, even if you are sure you have a cavity, the dentist will want to make his or her own diagnosis. It is possible that what you think is a cavity is really a different problem. Be open to the dentist’s diagnosis.
Also note that dentists often call cavities “caries” or “dental caries.” Don’t let the term throw you off; it means the same thing as cavities.
Step 3. Get clear on payment before work is done! If your dental problem is pressing, you’ll probably want to get it fixed quickly. Still, it’s wise to ask about payment and insurance before any work is done. Chances are that the office will want to know how you will pay, and whether you have dental insurance. Don’t let your eagerness to get your problem resolved lead to sticker shock later.
Many dentists have a different payment structure or plan for out-of-network patients and cash-only patients. It is worth asking about such plans if these apply to you.
What Will Happen After the Filling?
Once your cavity is filled, it is common for there to be some residual pain or sensitivity. The pain might be apparent only when there is a “trigger”—for example, when you eat or drink, or when the tooth is exposed to cold.
The pain is mild and usually lasts for a couple of days on up to three weeks, depending on how deep and large the cavity was. Regular over-the-counter pain medicine, like ibuprofen, can help with this.
In some very rare cases, a person can have an allergic reaction to the filling material. This is rare, but not impossible. If you experience an itchy sensation, burning, or swelling in the area of your mouth near or around your filling, check back with the dentist who did the tooth filling. You might simply need to have the filling replaced with another material.
“Do I Have to Stick with This Dentist Now?”
It’s a common question: A patient will see a local dentist for a cavity filling, and then feel as if he or she is now “locked into” seeing that dentist in the future.
Remember, you always have a choice when it comes to your dentist. That said, there is value in sticking with a dentist you like and trust. That dentist will get to know you and your dental history, and so will be better able to serve you in the future.
So, when making the decision about whether to stay with your dentist, remember:
- You always have a choice about who your dentist will be.
- You should choose a dentist with whom you feel comfortable.
- Whether your dentist is “in network” is a consideration, but not the sole factor, in determining whether you switch or stay.
- If you have a problem with your new filling, you should see the dentist who did that filling first.
- When you find a dentist you like, start scheduling those regular cleanings!
If you have further questions about finding a dentist for cavity filling, or about tooth filling in general, reach out to us and we will try to answer your concerns.
Otherwise, try our search tool to find a dentist near you.