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Dentist removing tooth

Long Does a Cavity Filling Take?

If you’re like most people, your life is busy, and your schedule is packed. If your dentist has told you that you need a filling, you may be dreading finding room on your calendar to pencil in one more thing! How long does a cavity filling take? Can you schedule it on your lunch break, or will you need to set aside an afternoon? Further, how often should you expect to have to do this? Will you have to have the filling replaced regularly? How long do cavity fillings last, anyway? Signature Smiles Dentistry has the answers you’re looking for.

What’s Involved in Getting a Filling?

A filling is a very common procedure, used to repair damage caused by tooth decay. Since about two billion people worldwide experience cavities, there is a good chance you will need a filling at some point. The process of filling a cavity starts with the use of anesthesia to numb the mouth. Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the dentist removes the decay from the tooth, leaving a space that will need to be filled, to prevent further decay and allow the tooth to function properly. There are different materials used for fillings, and sometimes a cavity will need to have adhesive placed in layers and cured between each layer with ultraviolet light. The different types of materials have an impact on the procedure and how long it takes. Once the cavity is filled, the filling will be polished to make sure there are no rough edges.

How Long Does it Take to Fill a Cavity?

Typically, a filling will only take about an hour, and some fillings only take about 20 minutes. However, depending on the size of the cavity and the materials used for the filling, it could take longer or may require a second visit.

  • Silver fillings are a combination of metals. Using an amalgam of mercury, silver, tin, and copper makes for a very durable and affordable filling. However, because of concerns over mercury, these fillings are being phased out. It usually takes 30 minutes or less for a silver filling to be placed, and about 24 hours for it to reach full strength.
  • Tooth-colored fillings are called composite fillings. This mixture of glass or quartz particles and resin costs a little bit more than metal amalgams and is very durable. Some composite fillings are layered into your tooth in about an hour, but if your composite filling is made from an impression, you will need to come back for a second visit.
  • Gold fillings are expensive. They’re made of gold, copper, and other metals, and usually require two visits because they are made in a lab after an impression has been made of the tooth.
  • Porcelain fillings cost about as much as gold fillings. The benefit of porcelain, however, is that it looks more natural. Like gold fillings, they are made in a lab, using an impression, and require a second visit.

How Long Do Cavity Fillings Last?

Don’t worry, you won’t have to visit your dentist annually for a new filling! Depending on the material used in your filling, you can expect it to last anywhere from five to 25 years. Being diligent about your dental care can extend the life of your filling, so make sure to brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly.

For All Your Dental Needs, Trust Signature Smiles Dentistry

At Signature Smiles Dentistry, we treat our patients like family. Our happy team creates a safe and welcoming environment, where patients can relax in a place of comfort, care, and expertise. Because we understand the fear that can come with a dental visit, we dedicate ourselves to learning about each of our patients and working to alleviate that fear. Providing general, cosmetic, and restorative services in Parker, CO, we use the latest equipment to give our patients the very best service and care. Our team is knowledgeable and passionate about their work, and, under the direction of Dr. Gunning, a dedicated cosmetic dentist, we provide patients with comprehensive care unique to their situation. For more information about how we can help you find your signature smile, contact us today.