One way to treat cavities – tooth fillings

Tooth decay can lead to cavities, and when left unchecked, cavities can cause significant mouth pain and substantial dental health concerns.  So when your dentist discovers a cavity in your tooth, the cavity will be filled with one of several types of common tooth filling materials.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92 percent of adults ages 20 to 64 have at least one cavity in their permanent teeth. Fillings are important because they correct an area of decay and keep decay from causing more pain or damage. Fillings also strengthen the tooth and help it to function correctly as it did before the decay occurred.

Do you need a filling? Here’s what you can expect when you visit your dentist for treatment:

Tooth preparation: In order to make your dental care experience as comfortable as possible, you dentist will use a dental injection to numb the area near your effective tooth for this process.  After your mouth is numb, your dentist will use a drill or air tool to remove the decayed area from your tooth. After all decay is removed, your dentist will clean the area thoroughly and prepare to fill the area with one of many filling materials available.

Filling materials: Looking for that million dollar smile? Did you know gold is one of the filling materials available?  Cast gold is durable and strong, but is more expensive than other options.  Some patients prefer the look of cast gold to other options. Silver amalgam fillings are well-known because they are an affordable and effective filling option. This durable material is made of a mix of metals including mercury, silver, tin and copper but is not preferred by some because its silver coloring is very visible against a white tooth. Tooth-colored composite resin fillings are a popular choice – especially for very visible fillings – because the material closely matches the color of the tooth. However, resin fillings are more expensive and can be less durable than other choices. Some dentists are also currently offering glass ionomer or ceramic and porcelain fillings, which each have their own benefits and drawbacks.  Discuss your options with your dental care provider.

Filling process:  Your dentist will fill your cleaned and prepared cavity site with the filling material that you both determine works best for your budget and your smile.  The filling material is placed in the tooth.  Some filling materials require special blue light or a waiting period for the material to harden and cure completely.  Your dentist will then trim and polish the filling material to match the edges of your teeth and shape the filling material to match your bite.

Ongoing care: After your dentist eliminates your areas of tooth decay and fills your cavities, you may think that your new smile doesn’t need ongoing checkups…but that’s not true! Regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist are important no matter what, but your dentist will also check to make sure your fillings are performing as expected, and that you are not experiencing any filling displacement, cracking or other concerns.

Getting a filling for a cavity may seem scary and overwhelming, but your dentist will work with you to guarantee a comfortable and anxiety-free dental experience.  Are you worried about the distress caused by a dental shotMany dentists use a tool called DentalVibe to eliminate the discomfort of dental injections.  Talk to your dentist about any dental anxiety you may have, and ask questions about the filling process.

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