Have a Cavity? Dental Fillings Are the Cure!It’s common for people to get anxious when their dentist tells them they have tooth decay that requires a filling. However, thanks to advances in technology and procedures, most people experience no discomfort when receiving dental fillings. Avoiding dental fillings can result in more serious problems. Read on for a look at what causes tooth decay and how the McDonogh Dental team treats cavities with minimal to no discomfort.
What Causes Tooth Decay?Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth produce acid that attacks the tooth’s outer surface, called “enamel.” Decay can lead to cavities, which are holes in your teeth. If you neglect tooth decay, it can lead to pain, infection, and tooth loss. Small areas of decay cause no symptoms so it is ideal to treat these areas before they become larger and possibly more problematic. Symptoms of tooth decay and cavities can include:
- Tooth pain
- Sensitivity to heat, cold, or sweet foods
- Brown or white stains on a tooth
- Infection or abscess, which can result in severe pain, fever, and swelling
How Do Dentists Use Dental Fillings to Treat Tooth Decay?Dentists use fillings to treat tooth decay, replace old fillings, and fix small cracks and chips. To prepare the tooth, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. This will prevent the patient from feeling any pain during the procedure. Next, the dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth using a high-speed drill. Then the dentist will fill the cavitated area. A dental filling restores the tooth’s original shape and arrests any further damage the decay would have caused.
What Are the Different Types of Dental Fillings?A variety of materials are used for dental fillings. Your dentist will help you determine the best fillings for your teeth. Some common dental filling materials include:
- Composite resin—Natural,-looking, tooth-colored fillings that match the color of your teeth.
- “Silver” amalgam—Strong, metal, and durable, but not natural looking.
- Glass ionomers—Tooth-colored, and release fluoride to fight decay but not as strong as composite resin.
- Gold—Strong and long-lasting, but much more costly
- Ceramic—Highly durable and natural-looking, more expensive than composite