Most people will get a cavity in a tooth at some point in life. Cavities are damaged areas of a tooth created by decay. Excessive oral bacteria, improper oral hygiene, and eating sugar are usually the causes. The decay permanently damages tooth enamel and creates openings into the tooth.
Dental fillings are one of the most common ways that dentists treat cavities. The dentist will remove the damaged area and fill the void with cast gold, amalgams, or tooth-colored composite material. Amalgams or silver fillings were typical in the past, but composite fillings are more popular today because they make the damaged tooth look natural. They are also highly durable with a long lifespan.
Signs that you may have cavities in need of dental fillings include:
- tenderness when biting down
- tooth sensitivity to sweet foods or beverages
- feeling a rough patch around a tooth
You may also have difficulty clearing food away from a specific area inside your mouth because the hole catches the particles.
Cavities are not the only reason to receive dental fillings. This procedure is also beneficial to fill any hole in a tooth to prevent further decay.
Dental fillings consisting of white composite material may be a viable solution to preserve a fractured tooth. A dentist may also use dental fillings to give a damaged tooth additional support and enhance its appearance.
The process of receiving dental fillings is relatively simple. The dental team will begin by thoroughly examining your teeth to determine the source of your problem. If they notice signs of decay or cavities, the dentist will apply a local anesthetic before drilling away the damaged area.
Next, the dentist cleans the area and uses dental filling materials to pack the void, followed by adhesives and a composite material to protect and seal the filling.
To harden the soft dental filling and composite overlay, the dentist may use a bonding light.
The final step is to smoothe away any rough areas to ensure comfort.