Cavity Fillings: What You Should Know

Cavity fillings are a common dental procedure that can help restore the function and appearance of decayed or damaged teeth. Here is a bit of information about cavity fillings, their benefits, and how they work.

What Are Cavity Fillings?

Cavity fillings are a type of dental restoration that involves filling a hole in a tooth with a material that mimics the natural tooth structure. The material can be made of metal, composite resin, porcelain, or glass ionomer, depending on the location and size of the cavity, the patient's preference, and the dentist's recommendation.

A filling must be durable and hard enough to allow the patient to chew effectively. Normal bite pressure should not dislodge or damage a filling.

Why Do You Need Fillings?

Fillings are needed when the tooth enamel (the hard outer layer of the tooth) is damaged by bacterial acids. Microbes in the mouth produce acids that erode the tooth material.

As the acids dissolve portions of the tooth, the patient may experience pain, sensitivity, infection, and eventually tooth loss if the cavity is left untreated. Fillings can help prevent further decay and restore the tooth's shape, strength, and function.

How Does a Dentist Fill a Cavity?

Fillings are usually done in one visit to the dentist. The provider will first numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Then, they will use a drill or a laser to remove the decayed or damaged part of the tooth. Next, they will clean and disinfect the cavity and prepare it for the filling material. They will then place the filling material in layers and shape it to match the natural contour of the tooth. Finally, they will use a special light or heat to harden the filling material and polish it to make it smooth and shiny.

What Are the Benefits of Fillings?

Fillings offer many benefits for the maintenance of your oral health. Some of them are:

  • Pain relief. They can relieve pain and discomfort caused by tooth decay.
  • Damage prevention. They can prevent further damage and infection to the tooth and surrounding tissues.
  • Improved appearance. They can improve the appearance and aesthetics of your smile.
  • Enhanced mouth function. They can enhance your chewing and speaking abilities.
  • Long-lasting restoration. They can last for many years with proper care and maintenance.

To ensure the longevity and success of your cavity fillings, be sure to avoid overly hard or sticky foods.

If you would like to learn more about cavity fillings, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.