Fillings are often a necessary part of life. When cavities appear in your teeth the nerve becomes exposed which can cause sensitivity and pain. If left untreated, the damage will get worse and the pain more severe. Fillings are one of those things that can fill people with dread. They're a reason many people are afraid of going to the dentist, but are those fears justified?

Here is the truth behind 4 filling myths to set your mind at ease.  

1. Getting a filling is painful.

This used to be the case but dental techniques have advanced and evolved. This common procedure is no longer painful, although the area may be tender when the local anaesthetic wears off. So being afraid of the pain is no longer a reason not to get those cavities filled.

2. It's not safe to have a filling while pregnant.

The main risks surrounding medical procedures during pregnancy are those involving general anaesthetic. This is because the general anaesthetic will make your baby sleepy as well as you, and the drugs can have a dangerous effect on your unborn child. But fillings are carried out under a local anaesthetic which works on numbing the area rather than putting you to sleep.

There is no risk at all to your child, although to be safe you should inform your dentist that you're expecting to discuss the risks involved before you decide to go ahead with the procedure.

3. Metallic fillings can cause cancer.

This myth originates from the idea that amalgam fillings, made up of mercury, copper, silver and tin, can be dangerous as the mercury can escape the fillings and get into your blood stream. The mercury will then cause mutations in your cells and result in cancer. While evidence suggests that the mercury can indeed leak from the fillings, the amount is so minute that no damage is done to your body.

While amalgam fillings can cause allergic reactions, there is no evidence to suggest that they cause cancer. However, you don't have to have amalgam fillings. Other filling materials include gold, ceramic and resin which aren't connected to ill health. Speak to your dentist about which material they recommend for your teeth.

4. Some people are genetically predisposed to cavities.

Cavities are caused by the erosion of the tooth by decay and a build-up of plaque. Children will not be born predisposed to tooth decay, but the decay can be passed onto babies and children through parents kissing their child or sharing food. Good oral hygiene in both the children and parents will keep tooth decay and cavities at bay.

Getting fillings is a common, painless procedure and thanks to advances in technology, there are a number of options now available. If you have cavities that need filling, speak to your dentist such as Whole Health Dentists about what would be best for your situation.