How Do Dentists Fill Cavities?

Having a cavity is something that nobody enjoys because it may be painful or cause problems when trying to eat or go about the day. While cavities are directly related to poor oral hygiene, it is important to remember that dentists can almost always repair cavities. However, that isn’t to say that one should neglect cleaning their teeth.

Dental cavities are typically treated by a dentist using a method called, a dental filling. A filling does exactly what it sounds like - fills the cavity. Knowing how a dentist does this may help ease a patient’s fears of having the simple procedure done.

Today, we will address how a dentist fills a cavity. Patients have no need to fear during this procedure because it is simple and the dentist is only doing it to get the teeth in better shape.

How do dentists fill cavities?

Numbing agents

Because the filling of a cavity does require a dental drill, a dentist will typically advise that a patient has a numbing agent applied to the tooth and the surrounding area. The numbing agent will numb the tooth, the gums and even part of the jaw to ensure that the patient does not feel any pain during the procedure.

Dental drilling

While this is the part that scares most people, dental drilling is absolutely necessary to do in order to have a cavity properly filled. Once the numbing agent kicks in and the patient is unable to feel anything, the dentist will drill out the decayed parts of the tooth - otherwise known as the cavity. The drill will ensure that no damage is left on the tooth and that it is all removed efficiently so that the filling can be placed.


Because a drill may not provide the smoothest surface, the dentist will then ensure that the surface of the tooth and the edges are smooth so that there aren’t any discomforts after the procedure. Shaping to the tooth may also cause discomfort so doing this while the patient is still numb is necessary.

The filling

Once the tooth is ready for the filling, a dentist will use a material of their recommendation or the patient’s liking to fill the empty space where the decay was removed from. Amalgam or composite resin is typically used to fill the cavity as these are the safest and most durable materials.

Knowing how a cavity is filled can help a person warm up to the idea of having it done. Dental fillings are absolutely necessary in a lot of situations so being sure to talk with the dentist about the procedure is important and can provide benefits later on down the line. The procedure is quick and simple, and the numbing agents ensure that pain isn’t felt.

If you have more questions about dental fillings and how they work then reach out to our office today. We are happy to help in any way that we can, give us a call today!

Request an appointment here: or call Family Choice Dental at (505) 634-5657 for an appointment in our Albuquerque office.

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