So You Have a Cavity

Everyone's worst doctor visit just became a nightmare: a cavity. The simple clean, polish, and remember to floss was delayed by the discovery that maybe eating all of those sweets wasn’t actually a smart decision. After finishing up for the day, getting the goodie bag of dental hygiene products, and ceremoniously running a tongue over hyper clean and minty fresh teeth, it’s time to schedule an appointment to get a filling. But what can you expect?

A cavity sounds frightening, but when caught early it doesn’t take much to fix. Depending on the depth and location of the decay in your teeth they may do a quick filling without even needing a numbing agent. I was caught with a cavity over summer break, my second, but my first time with numbing included. It wasn’t anything to be scared about and done in thirty minutes.

 

1. Numbing stage one

A minty blue topical gel was placed onto my tooth and surrounding areas as a first step to make sure there wasn’t any discomfort. I was even confused because I thought that was it! Leave a q-tip of goop on for a few minutes? I thought there would be a needle.

2. Close your eyes! Numbing stage two

There is a needle. I found it easier to look away as my dentist gave my cheek a small shake to distract from the injection but it wasn’t painful at all. Once that first dose goes in, it doesn’t matter anyway. All surrounding area by the tooth being taken care of will be numbed accordingly.

3. Drilling for… decay?

A small drill like device is used to remove the decay from the tooth. This process will most likely be the most uncomfortable out of everything. Needle in the gums? Nothing compared to the vibrating sensation of the drill at work. Nothing hurts but it’s easy to imagine exactly what’s happening to your tooth.

4. Filling the hole

Once the decay has been removed, the filling itself goes in. It’s a pliable material that is pressed into the hole, shaped by the doctor, then solidified with a high intensity light (if you’ve ever had braces you’ll remember the light they used to make the brackets stick to your teeth). Afterwards, the doctor goes through with a polisher to keep edges smooth and lined up with your bite.

 

5. After care

One numb cheek and nothing to worry about! I was even allowed to eat breakfast afterwards, with the only warning being not to chew my cheek. The numbing goes away within a couple of hours. You can still talk and operate like normal. In fact, no one would be the wiser unless you told them.