What are Sedative Fillings?
A “sedative filling” is a temporary filling used to repair a decayed, chipped, cracked, or otherwise damaged tooth, and used by dentists in cases where a cavity has progressed very near, or right next to the pulp (nerve). The main purpose of a sedative filling is to assist in soothing a tooth nerve aggravated by decay or trauma, and to allow the tooth to begin repairing itself.
How Sedative Fillings Work
Unlike a traditional amalgam or composite resin fillings made of metal or acrylic, our sedative fillings begin with removing decay (sometimes leaving decay nearest pulp in extreme cases) and introducing ozone along with silver nitrate and calcium phosphate (a re-calcifying agent) and calcium hydroxide (hard tissue inducer) in hopes of arresting decay and hardening/thickening the layer nearest the pulp. The natural properties of these materials allows the tooth to begin its own natural healing process while a temporary material is placed over the repairing agents bringing back the original shape of the tooth.
Our sedative filling remains for a period of 4-6 weeks, allowing ample time for repair. After about a month, the temporary filling will be removed, cleaned with ozone to remove bacteria/viruses/fungi, repairing agents will be reapplied, and new temporary material will be placed. Or, at the Dentist’s discretion, the decay has ceased, the restoration will be prepared. At any time during this healing process, there is a chance the tooth may have decay too extensive for repair and may become symptomatic (pain, swelling) meaning the tooth is now infected and would need an extraction, or other treatment not offered at this office.
We will be looking for signs that the tooth is experiencing decreased inflammation or sensitivity, and has begun laying down an additional layer of dentin. If these conditions are favorable, and you are asymptomatic verified by x-ray, a root canal or extraction may be averted, and instead, a crown or onlay might be placed on the tooth. If, on the other hand, the pulp is determined to be too badly damaged, and not “live” or “vital,” an extraction, or other treatment, might be necessary.
What Does Sedative Mean?
We usually hear the word 'sedative' used in relation to sleep. But, sedative also means to reduce 'irritability' or 'excitement'. When a cavity is causing issues, it is irritating or exciting the tooth and nerve. Sedative therapy helps reduce that and often SAVES YOUR TOOTH!