Cavities and Fillings 101
Whether you’ve been told you have a cavity or you’re just interested in finding out more about oral health, you’ve come to the right place. Dental decay is one of the most common oral problems in the world. In 2013, it was reported that approximately 4 billion people worldwide have untreated cavities. So what causes cavities? Can we prevent them, and how do we go about treating them?
Cavities and Oral Health
If you look at the statistic above it seems hard to believe that cavities are actually preventable—but they are! Most oral health issues can be prevented with proper hygiene and maintenance. Brushing and flossing helps keep that cavity-producing bacteria away, and dental checkups every six months is a must. Early detection of cavities is key to ensuring that your decaying teeth don’t experience more extensive damage.
One of the main issues with tooth decay is that it doesn’t just go away on its own. In fact, if left untreated, it will only get worse. Once it reaches the blood vessels and nerves of the tooth it can spread into your gums and jawbones, causing significant damage in its wake. Once the decay has become this widespread, an extraction may be necessary to protect the rest of your smile.
If we detect a cavity, we’ll want to treat it as soon as possible so it doesn’t progress. First, we’ll use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth. Then we’ll use a drill to remove the decaying areas. Once we’ve determined that all the decay has been removed, we will prepare the tooth for the filling. Several types of dental fillings are available; however, we often use composite resin fillings, as they are tooth-colored and impossible to see. The tooth-colored resin will be applied to your tooth in layers. Once this process is finished, we’ll shape the filling and polish it so it looks natural.
Caring for Fillings
You may feel some discomfort after the anesthesia wears off; however, symptoms should be minimal. Remember not to eat or drink anything hot until the anesthesia’s effects have gone away, as you risk being burned. If you experience significant pain or discomfort, call us right away. On average, fillings last about 12 years; however, they could last longer with the proper care. Continue to brush and floss regularly, treat any clenching or teeth grinding problems you may have, and see your dentist every six months for routine checkups to make sure your fillings are still working.
If it’s time for your dental checkup or you think you may have a cavity, then let’s take a look at your smile as soon as possible. Call our office today so we can get you treated right away.