Can you fill a cavity without numbing?

This blogpost will answer the question Can you fill a cavity without numbing? And will include the following topics:Why do they numb you for fillings?

What determines how much a filling will hurt?

How long does a filling take?

What are the types of fillings?

What types of numbing are available?

Does it hurt after a filling?

What are the warning signs of a cavity?

What if I have a fear of getting a cavity filled?

How can I prevent cavities?

Can you fill a cavity without numbing?

No, you cannot get a filling without numbing. Filling procedure requires drilling a tooth which can be painful as firstly there is a lot of pressure and secondly it may touch the nerves which are extremely sensitive. Hence, cavity filling cannot be done without numbing.

Why do they numb you for fillings?

The nerves present in your teeth are extremely sensitive to pain or discomfort. If you numb a tooth before drilling it for a filling, you won’t feel anything during the treatment. This is critical for you as well as the dentist. Your comfort is vital during your operation, but it also helps the dentist to repair your cavity or other tooth problem more quickly and effectively.

What determines how much a filling will hurt?

If you have a cavity, your dentist will most likely advise you to get to fill it as soon as possible.

Fillings are used to ease the discomfort associated with cavities and to prevent severe infection. A cavity can reach the pulp of a tooth if left untreated, producing excruciating pain.

Cavities that are left untreated may need more invasive operations like root canals or extractions.

A cavity filling involves your dentist removing existing dental decay and restoring the tooth to its original form. This improves the health of your mouth and makes it more comfortable to eat..

Your dentist will go over the treatment with you and let you know what to expect. A variety of factors influence this. Here are some things to consider when deciding how painful a filling will be.

Size and depth of the cavity

Tooth decay is a gradual process. It begins with white patches produced by little mineral loss in the enamel of the tooth. Proper oral care and fluoride therapy can help prevent tooth decay.

However, if the enamel on the tooth continues to deteriorate, you may develop a cavity that requires a filling. The best and quickest way to treat small cavities is to catch them early. If your cavity isn’t too deep, the pain may be modest.

Just remember that topical numbing gel just numbs only the gums, not the tooth tissue, so the needle doesn’t cause pain or discomfort during the injection.

However many people have a needle phobia, and they dread the injection more than any other part of the operation. Others, on the other hand, resent the numbness that persists in the cheek and tongue after a cavity has been filled.

In certain cases, a topically administered numbing gel is sufficient to totally relieve gum soreness. If you start to experience discomfort, your dentist can halt drilling and administer an injected anaesthetic.

Deeper cavities need more decay eradication and therefore take longer to fill. Deep cavities are also closer to the nerve endings of the tooth. These cavities have the potential to increase the amount of discomfort experienced throughout the surgery..

Unless you have a very high pain tolerance, your dentist will likely recommend an injected anesthetic for deep cavities.

Location of the cavity

There are three types of cavities:

smooth surface cavities:

which form on the sides of the mouth

pit and fissure cavities:

which occur on the biting surfaces of molars

root cavities:

which form near the tooth’s root

Small root cavities may usually be filled with anaesthesia, and most root cavities can be treated easily if detected early.

Because the root of the tooth is made up of a soft component called cementum, it is more susceptible to decay. Because the roots aren’t as robust as tooth enamel, exposed roots from receding gums might deteriorate fast.

These cavities are especially prevalent in those who have periodontal (gum) disease. The gums recede as a result of periodontal disease, exposing the tooth’s fragile root surface.

Number of cavities

If you have multiple cavities in the same location of your mouth, your dentist may advise you to fill them all at once.

Due to the extended treatment duration, this may cause more discomfort. You’ll have to hold your mouth open for a prolonged period of time throughout the treatment, which might cause jaw discomfort or nausea.

The lengthy process may require extra anaesthetic as well 

How long does a filling take?

From start to finish, small fillings typically take 20 to 30 minutes to complete. Deeper or multiple cavities take longer to fill.

Here’s the typical procedure you can expect for a filling:

Your dentist will dry the area, then they’ll administer a numbing gel.

They’ll administer a local anaesthetic, like lidocaine, after your gums are numb. This shouldn’t be a problem if your dentist is skilled. While the anaesthetic begins to numb the tooth, gums, and jaw region, you may feel a momentary pinch or sting.

Your dentist will next remove the decay with a drill. The sound of the drill is considered by many to be the most unpleasant part of the process. The hole will be sanitised and filled once the decay has been completely removed. Deep fillings near the pulp may need the placement of a liner beforehand to protect the nerve.

After the filling is in place, your dentist will check your bite to make sure it is even and then polish the tooth.

What are the types of fillings?

Different types of fillings can influence the procedure’s time and, as a result, how painful it is. Your pain level is usually unaltered by the type of filling.

Filling materials include:

Composite resin:

One of the most frequently used fillings is this one. It’s administered in stages that use UV light to harden into the tooth. These popular fillings are constructed of acrylic resin and polished glass and are tooth-colored and natural-looking. Composite resin fillings aren’t as long-lasting as other filling materials and require longer to set in the tooth, so they’re not usually the best choice for deep fillings. In addition to taking longer than amalgam fillings, this form of filling requires more time.


These silvery grey fillings are constructed of a range of metals, including mercury, silver, copper, and tin. They’re less costly and may last longer than composite resin. These fillings have become less common due to concerns about mercury poisoning. Amalgam fillings do not cause mercury poisoning, according to clinical research, and the American Dental Association has also indicated that they are safe. However, there is a persistent concern regarding their safety.


These fillings are long-lasting, costly, and noticeable in the mouth. They require multiple visits to the facility. After the decay in your tooth has been removed, a mould is used to create an impression of the tooth. At a following appointment, the filling is cemented to your tooth.

Glass ionomer:

This is a less durable filling material used for baby teeth and temporary fillings. Glass ionomer also releases fluoride that helps prevent additional tooth decay.

What types of numbing are available?

The purpose of numbing agents is to prevent or diminish pain and discomfort.

Your dentist may have a preference for one kind over another. Discuss with your dentist the numbing agent they intend to use and why they believe it is the best option for you.

Here are some of the common agents used for numbing:

Lidocaine. This is one of the most commonly used numbing gels. It’s also used as an injected anesthetic.

Benzocaine. This is also used as a numbing gel in adults and children over age 2.

Epinephrine. This ingredient, which is included in some injections, can help the anesthetic last longer and work more effectively.

If you’re allergic to these or any other sort of anaesthesia, make sure to tell your dentist.

If you’re anxious, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) delivered through a breathing mask over the nose could help. Nitrous oxide can help with pain, but it’s most commonly used to relieve anxiety and fear.

Does it hurt after a filling?

For a day or two following the surgery, your tooth may feel awkward or sensitive.

Mild discomfort is common and temporary . Notify your dentist right away if you have severe pain, swelling, or pus. This might indicate an infection or the need for more extensive treatment, such as a root canal.

If you eat or drink something that is extremely hot or cold, it may aggravate any sensitivity or mild pain. Breathing in cold air might also irritate or tingle your teeth.

For a few days, your gums may also feel raw or sore, especially while brushing or flossing your teeth.

What are the warning signs of a cavity?

Cavity warning signs include:

white spots

dark spots

sensitivity or pain for no apparent reason, when biting down on the tooth, or when eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet

obvious holes or pits

Cavities come on slowly and don’t always cause pain.

If you notice any cavity warning signs, let your dentist know. The earlier you treat a cavity, the less likely it is to cause pain.

What if I have a fear of getting a cavity filled?

Fear may happen as a result of a previous negative dental experience or from hearing about other people’s negative dental experiences. Unfortunately, those who are afraid of the dentist are more prone to avoid going to the dentist.Some patients have full-blown dentophobia, which is a more serious disorder than merely avoiding a dentist appointment. Regular dental appointments, however, are an important part of general health maintenance, especially when it comes to cavities. Cavities that go untreated can cause tooth discomfort and even tooth loss, which is an expensive ailment to address and can have serious health effects in the long run.

How can I prevent cavities?

The best way to avoid cavity pain is by avoiding cavities. Here are some tips for preventing cavities:

Brush and floss at least twice a day.

Use a fluoride toothpaste.

Avoid eating sugary foods that promote tooth decay.

Don’t drink sodas or other sugary beverages.

Don’t suck on hard candies that contain sugar or chew gum that contains sugar.

See your dentist for regular checkups.

Other FAQs about Teeth Cavities that you may be interested in.

Can you drive home after getting a cavity filled?

Can you be put under for multiple cavities?

Can stress cause cavities?

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