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Filling a Cavity: What to Expect?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Our daughter has a cavity, evidently from not flossing enough, since it's in between two baby molars. She's having it filled on Thursday, and wants to know what to expect. I called her dentist and the receptionist told me they use "giggle gas, then freeze it, but we don't talk about freezing it, and then he fills the cavity."

I thought I'd post here to see if anyone would share first-hand experiences. I've never had a cavity and my husband only had a few as a kid. He can't remember and it's probably different now, anyway.

Is the nitrous oxide dangerous?
I'm assuming "freezing" is a shot for numbing? What is it, exactly?
How do they fill a cavity that is between two molars?
How did you/your kids handle it?
Any tips when she starts getting scared?

Thanks in advance!

Cheers, from
post #2 of 15
3 of mine just had fillings done last week.They had NOTHING!!! No numbing,nothing at all.The Dentist just drilled the tooth and filled them with the white filling.
Mine didn't mind it at all to be honest.The drill is the scariest thing for them.
post #3 of 15
To me, its no big deal, but I like dentist needles. For kids, I don't know how they would react though.
post #4 of 15
By the way, my kids that had them done are 6,13, and 16
post #5 of 15
If it's just a filling, why the heck are they giving her nitrous oxide? Does she scream and cry and freak out at the dentist? No, it's not particularly dangerous, it just seems excessive. Usually all they do is a shot of novocain/lidocain/etc in the gums to numb the actual teeth/jaw.

Make sure you get the composite (white) filling. It might cost a little more, but the hole they drill is smaller, you can't see it, it's not half mercury, and it's dry/set when you leave the dentist.

I actually like going to the dentist.
post #6 of 15
I've had lots of cavities filled. Never had laughing gas for a filling - but it will definitely help relax her.

Tell her it is NOT going to hurt. Her tooth may be a little sensitive to hot and cold for a few days after the filling is done, but it's a breeze. The noise of the drill is the scariest part - and noise doesn't hurt.

With the laughing gas, which isn't dangerous, it'll relax her and make her feel kind of like everything's far away, but she'll still be aware of what's going on, so that's not scary.

Then they'll rub something on the gum to numb it, so she definitely won't feel any pain when he gives the shot for the novacaine. She'll feel the pressure of the needle, but it won't hurt at all.

They'll use a drill to "clean out" any rotten part of the tooth or teeth (I'm not sure what inbetween two molars means - whether it's just one tooth with a cavity or both teeth). They'll clean it, and then pack whatever filling stuff they use.

That's it! Whatever part of her face that is on will be "numb" from the novacaine for another 1/2 hour or hour or so. It means she won't have muscle control in that part of her cheek and side of her lips, so if she tries to drink or something, use a straw, or some water or whatever will dribble out - we always thought it was kind of fun and funny.

The most important thing is to make sure she understands it won't hurt. She may feel some pressure from the needle for the novacaine, and she'll be able to feel the dentist moving things around in her mouth - but she won't feel any pain.

And while there may be people that have reactions to laughing gas or novacaine, the numbers must be very, very small and generally very, very safe because it is such standard stuff used by all dentists, orthodontists, periodontists and oral surgeons.

In fact - if you're used to having cavities filled, it's pretty easy to skip everything and just get the shot of novocaine. My mom used to skip even that.

Best of luck - I'm sure everything will go well!

post #7 of 15
It appears (I had to go look ) that when the dentist filled the cavity between 2 of my molars (as an adult ), he just drilled down one of the teeth with the cavity to get it cleaned out, and filled it back up. Must have been a really small drill! . I don't have a clue what they mean by "freezing"

BTW- I hate dentist needles- I'm really hard to numb .
post #8 of 15
I wish our Dentist would use something.
But, this is the same one that pulled Seth's back tooth (6 year old) with ONLY the numbing cream--no SHOT!!
post #9 of 15
I had my first (and only!) cavity when I was 25.
I was expecting the worst!
It really wasn't that bad.

The shots are novacaine and imo the worst part of the whole thing.
The nitrous was used, but turned off once I was relaxed and my gums fully numb.
post #10 of 15
Oooo! I had the cavity between molars a few years ago. It was annoying because no dentist would touch it except for the one I have now.

Anyhoo, my dentist numbs before drilling (no other dentist did this). He knows I'm deathly afraid of needles so he hides the needle (by covering his hand with it).

They give you a few minutes to numb...during that time you daughter can be fascinated by poking her cheek and not feeling it At least I do that.

Anyhoo, she'll hear a high pitch sound and after a minute or two he'll be done.

Oh and bring a bottle of Orange Juice just incase she overworks herself (like I do)
post #11 of 15
With mine (all done as an adult though) all he did was rub some numbing stuff on, then use the needle so I didn't feel it and then drilled away. I find the most uncomfortable part to be the thing they put around my tooth when filling it. That was for the ol fashion 'silver' fillings.
post #12 of 15
Ditto to what everyone else said. The most uncomfortable thing, though, is when the cavities are near the front of your mouth and they have to numb the upper gums. Apparantly having the needle inserted so close to your sinuses makes your eyes run. Made mine run, anyway, and the doctor teased me about crying over an itty bitty little needle.
post #13 of 15
Personally i would be happier iof they would give me gas first, the last time i went to the dentist for an absecess they didnt. I am deathly afraid of needles, and am hyper senstive to them..so no matter how well they numb me it hurts and i panic.

all that aside when i was a kid i had a couple cavitys. and they were filled easy enough..
post #14 of 15
My main problem is with the needle for the novacaine. I have had some dentists that did a really good job with it and all I felt was a small pinch and then pressure. I have had some dentists that did a really bad job and the shot really hurt, I know I am a big baby about the shot but I always dropped a dentist that gave really painful shots.
post #15 of 15
How old is your daughter? My kids get novocaine and haven't complained about the pain. And they usually put some numbing gel on before giving the novocaine shot. They actually like going to the dentist. Not me. When I was a kid, the dentist didn't wait for the novocaine to work, and it hurt like crazy.

Also, our dentist suggested flouride rinse after they brush to help with those hard to reach places.
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