Dental fillings are used to repair worn or damaged teeth and treat tooth decay. When filling a tooth that has decay, a dentist or other oral health (dental) professional uses a drill and other instruments to remove the decay. The hole is cleaned and dried, and then sealed with a filling material. The main reason for fillings are cavities. Cavities are common problem for many people. Although not a serious problem initially, they can cause a host of other issues when not handled promptly.
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a hole in the enamel of a tooth. They are caused by bacteria within plaque. Plaque is the substance that builds up on the surface of teeth. With proper brushing and flossing, the plaque isn’t given the chance to build up. If poor dental hygiene is a factor, plaque will begin to build up, and bacteria and acids get stuck in it. The acids and bacteria will begin to eat through the enamel. The resulting hole in the enamel is a cavity.
Why do cavities hurt?
Once the breach in the enamel is there, the bacteria and acids will continue to push into the tooth. This causes decay, and damages the dentinal tissue within the tooth, ultimately reaching the pulp. At this point, the tooth can become sensitive to:
- Extreme cold
- Pressure (if a food is difficult to chew)
It is important to handle cavities quickly. If the decay reaches the root, a root canal will be required to completely repair the damage and clear away the infection.
How are cavities treated?
Cavities are easy to treat, and require a simple filling. The dentist will drill into the tooth, and remove all of the decay. The resulting gap is then filled. Fillers used to contain metal, and were silver (amalgam) or gold. Nowadays, Fillings are tooth colored, and made of a resin composite that actually binds better to the tooth than the metal does, and typically lasts much longer! It’s a process that is completed in one sitting, and the area is anesthetized so there is no pain as the dentist drills.
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I had a filling there last week and it was quick and about as painless as a filling can get. I’ve been going to Chauvin’s for a few years now and one of the best things I’ve noticed is that when I show up on time for my appointment, I don’t have to wait a long time or refill any paperwork I’ve done before. They usually have me in the dentist’s chair within a few minutes. Besides that, they have TVs on the ceiling, massage chairs, and their staff is exceptionally friendly.
– William Zhang