Over time, the acid that comes from the bacteria living inside our mouths and from the foods and beverages we consume can break down and weaken the protective layer of your teeth called tooth enamel. This process is called tooth decay.
When not properly addressed and treated with improved oral hygiene and professional fluoride treatments, tooth decay can lead to cavities (also called dental caries) that are small holes in the teeth.
At ONE Dental, we do everything we can to help our patients prevent tooth decay and cavities, but they can still sometimes develop. When this happens, we can help you resolve the issue and restore your tooth with a dental filling.
What Is a Dental Filling?
A dental filling is a dental treatment designed to fill a cavity, restore the shape of a tooth, protect the inside of a tooth, and prevent further tooth decay.
Traditionally, dental fillings were made from a silver amalgam. Today, however, there are a variety of options for tooth-colored dental fillings, including composite resin and porcelain.
Signs You Might Need a Dental Filling
One of the reasons we recommend regular dental checkups is that tooth decay and cavities often don’t cause any symptoms and are nearly invisible to the untrained eye. Routine dental exams can help our dentists detect these issues early on.
More advanced tooth decay and cavities can cause the following signs and symptoms:
If you notice any of these issues, we recommend scheduling an appointment right away.
What Happens If You Don’t Fill a Cavity?
If tooth decay and cavities go unaddressed, the cavity grows larger until it exposes the interior (pulp) of the tooth. This can lead to a variety of complications resulting from a bacterial infection of the tooth and its root system. In the worst cases, it can lead to the loss of the affected tooth and even harm neighboring teeth.
What To Expect When Getting a Dental Filling
Dental fillings are fairly simple, routine procedures. We begin by numbing the treatment area with a local anesthetic. This prevents you from experiencing any discomfort during treatment.
The dentist then drills the cavity and sterilizes the area to eliminate all bacteria. Once clean and dry, we fill the cavity, typically with composite resin, and set the material using a special light.
After having a cavity filled, you can return to your normal daily activities right away.
Tooth Decay and Cavity Prevention at ONE Dental
To learn more about how you can protect your teeth from tooth decay and cavities or to schedule a preventive dental appointment, we welcome you to contact ONE Dental today.