A dental filling is a dental restoration procedure that is required for the removal and repair of tooth decay. If your tooth damage is very severe, you might even need to go for a root canal and a cap, but that is an entirely different kind of a dental procedure (a root canal is basically just a bigger filling). In any case, it is best to go for regular dental examinations to prevent your tooth decay from getting too bad.
In this article, we’ll learn when dental fillings are right for your cavities.
What Is Dental Decay?
In simple terms, dental decay is when your teeth start to dissolve because of excessive intake of sugary foods. When sugary foods are consumed in excess, they begin to react with the bacteria already present in dental plaque, and they give rise to the formation of various acids that result in the softening and dissolution of dentine and enamel. Eventually, the acids become neutralized because of your saliva’s natural salts, but they can still attack teeth for as long as an hour after you’re done drinking and eating.
Gradually, such sugary foods can create a cavity or a hole in your tooth.
Types of Cavities Caused by Dental Decay
Dental decay can cause three different types of cavities:
- Coronal Cavities. Coronal cavities are the most common type of cavity. They are created on the chewing surfaces or right in between your teeth. This kind of cavity is common in both adults and children.
- Root Cavities. With the aging process, our gums regress, exposing the roots of our teeth. The exposed sites of our teeth become more vulnerable to tooth decay because there is no protective enamel covering the dental roots.
- Recurrent Decay. This kind of dental cavity is present around existing crowns and fillings that have gathered the plaque.
If left untreated, dental decay can result in the destruction of your teeth and the killing of all the delicate nerves present in its center. It may also result in an infection of the area covering the root tip. Once such an infection occurs, the only treatment option left is a surgery, a root canal, or tooth extraction.
If the dental decay isn’t as severe, it can be easily removed, and the tooth can be rebuilt with a silver or white filling. Silver fillings are made from mercury, while the white ones are made from a sturdy white material that closely matches the natural color of your tooth. Early diagnosed dental decay may also be treated with a simple fluoride varnish to prevent further decay.
When Is a Dental Filling Right for Your Cavities?
Dental decay doesn’t present itself with a lot of signs and symptoms during the early stages. However, you might need to consult a dentist for a dental filling if you are suffering from the following symptoms:
- Tooth Sensitivity. If your tooth feels sensitive when exposed to specific kinds of food, such as cold or hot, sour or sweet, or sticky foods, you might need a dental filling.
- Floss Tears. If your floss tears every time you floss a specific tooth, you might need a dental filling.
- Damage to Any Previous Fillings. You might need a dental filling if one of your previous fillings has been broken, cracked, or gone missing.
- A Fractured or Chipped Tooth. Your tooth will require a filling if it has been damaged.
- Food Stuck in between Your Teeth. If food starts getting stuck in between two specific teeth, then you might need a dental filling.
- Dark Spots on Your Teeth. If you see a hole or a dark spot in your teeth, your dentists might suggest that you go for a dental filling.
- Sharp or Throbbing Tooth Pain. If you’re suffering from a sharp or throbbing pain in your mouth when chewing or biting, chances are that you need a dental filling.
Dental decay spreads very rapidly. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact and consult your dentist immediately. Regular dental check-ups are very important because dental decay may not always present with any symptoms until it’s too late.