Check out how you can help patients who are nervous about fillings. 

How to prepare your dental patient for a filling

How to prepare your dental patient for a filling


OMG Admin

June 09,2021

Do you have a dental patient who needs a filling but keeps avoiding it? They could be avoiding and getting nervous about fillings because of the cost or having a dental fear. If your patient is avoiding a filling, their tooth could rot and lead to dental decay

As a dentist, you can encourage patients to get a filling by educating them. Our oral sedation recertification team has gathered some information about what a filling process consists of and how oral sedation can help them through the process. 

What is a filling?

A filling is a kind of dental treatment used to repair tooth damage caused by decay. It helps restore the tooth’s function and prevent further damage to it. 

What is a filling made of?

Fillings come in different materials. The most common types of filling are amalgam, composite, metals and ceramic. Which kind of fillings your patients get depends on their budget and aesthetic. Here are the pros and cons of each type of fillings. 


Amalgam fillings

This kind of filling is one of the most common and budget-friendly. They are made of metallic elements and amalgam. The pro of this kind of filling is the strength. A con is that these fillings are noticeable.  


Composite fillings

Composite fillings are made of a combination of glass or quartz fillers. The benefits of this kind of filling are its durability and the color that matches a patient’s teeth. 


Metals fillings

This kind of filling is made from gold or silver metals. Some things to consider are gold fillings that cost way more than silver fillings. Although some people do not like the look of silver fillings, they last up to 10 to 15 years. 


Ceramic fillings

Ceramic fillings are made from porcelain and match the tooth color. The perks of these fillings are less likely to get stained compared to the composite fillings. One downside is that ceramic fillings can be just as expensive as gold fillings. 

The process of getting a filling

Getting a filling takes, on average, an hour. Depending if you have seen your patient recently or not, it will depend on the need for x-rays. Once the x-rays have been examined, then the numbing process begins. Dentists will use local anesthesia to numb the tooth, gums and surrounding mouth tissues where the filling will take place. 

Next, dentists will drill the decay out of the tooth and fill the hole with the filling. Depending on the kind of filling used, a dentist might use a UV light to harden it. The process typically takes around two minutes. It is important to note that the patient will feel numb for about two hours after the procedure. To prevent the filling from falling out or patient’s from biting their tongues, they should wait at least two hours before eating

How to help patients that are nervous about fillings

As simple as a filling process is, some dental patients get anxious. Dental anxiety may cause patients to get really anxious before a filling and prolong the process. This anxiety can be due to a fear of feeling pain, drilling sounds or a bad experience. 

Dentists should let patients know the process of getting a filling is painless with the correct procedures. If this does not calm them down, offer them oral sedation. This kind of sedation can be used along with local anesthesia. 

Oral sedation, also known as minimal sedation, is an oral sedative that helps patients feel less stressed during a procedure. To offer this option in your office, you need to maintain your oral sedation certification. 

Need your oral sedation recertification? 

Let Midwest Sedation Consultants help! We offer oral sedation recertification courses online for your convenience. Register to one of our courses here