Did you know that 90% of Americans over the age of 20 have had at least one cavity at some point in their lives? Cavities aren’t usually anything to worry about as long as you take good care of your oral health. However, if you don’t often brush or floss your teeth, cavities can end up creating large holes in your teeth.
In some cases, these holes can end up penetrating the sensitive inner tissue of the tooth known as the pulp. Fortunately, you won’t have to deal with this painful result if you go in for a dental filling procedure from your local dentist. By drilling and filling the cavity, your tooth’s health will be back to normal.
But what is the dental filling procedure like and is it painful? Keep reading to learn more about cavities and dental fillings below.
Why Do Cavities Happen in the First Place?
Teeth are made out of tooth enamel which is one of the hardest tissues in the human body. But that doesn’t mean that our teeth are invincible. Tooth enamel’s greatest weakness is sugar.
That’s because there are certain strains of bacteria that live in your mouth that love to feast on sugar. When they do this, the bacteria produce a harsh acid as a byproduct. You might wonder why you aren’t able to feel this acid once it forms in your mouth.
While it isn’t strong enough to cause any damage to your mouth or cause pain, it is strong enough to damage your tooth enamel. The process is slow at first, but if you regularly ignore brushing your teeth and going for a yearly dentist appointment or two, the damage will eventually get worse and worse until you can finally start to notice it. One of the first signs of enamel decay is developing sensitive teeth.
You may notice that your teeth seem to hurt when you eat or drink substances that are hot or cold. This is because your tooth enamel has become so thin that it can no longer protect the nerves inside your teeth as well as before. But the detriments of tooth decay don’t stop there.
Sooner or later, cavities will begin to form. They usually begin as small white dots on the surface of your teeth. If you catch them this early, you might not need to get them drilled out. But the problem is that it is hard to see these white dots and people don’t tend to notice cavities until they are much more developed.
Eventually, the white dot will become dark and then become a hole. Then, you will need to go to the dentist and get it fixed.
What Is the Dental Filling Procedure Like?
Many people tend to have terrible images of drills and agony when thinking of dental fillings. However, if you read even a small bit of information from dentist websites, you will find that the procedure is actually quite simple and harmless.
To ensure that you don’t feel any pain, or discomfort during the procedure, the dentist will apply a numbing gel to your gums. Once your gums are completely numb, the dentist will then use a needle to apply a local anesthetic, so you won’t feel the drill when it penetrates your tooth. Once this is done, the dentist will use a special drill to remove any decayed tooth enamel you may have.
The removal of this decayed tissue is important. If the dentist fails to do this, the decay will continue to break down the tooth. If tooth decay continues to a certain point, you might even have to have your tooth removed.
As the dentist drills the tooth, you should not feel any pain but you may feel some pressure. After the dentist removes the decayed tooth enamel, it will be time to fill the hole with a cavity filling. There are many different types of cavity fillings that you can choose from.
Some are better than others when it comes to particular characteristics. For example, one might be more durable than another, but it might not match the color of your tooth. Fillings that are different than the color of your teeth are not ideal for your front teeth since they will be very visible.
After the dentist fills the hole, he will then polish the filling. This is important because it will ensure that the filling will fit your tooth and won’t get in the way when you bite down.
Types of Fillings You Should Know About
Metal fillings such as silver amalgam or gold fillings are the strongest available. You won’t have to worry about them cracking or wearing down. However, they do have some downsides.
Most importantly, they don’t match the color of your teeth. Silver amalgam fillings in particular have the ability to stain the surrounding tooth, turning it a grayish color.
Porcelain fillings are very popular because they are very durable, and they match the color of your tooth. Composite fillings are also able to match the color of your tooth. They are also very affordable, but the downside is that they are not as strong as other types of fillings.
As a result, they may have a higher risk of getting damaged over time. Choosing the right filling for you will depend on your budget, how many cavities you need to fill, and what you want the result to look like.
What to Know About the Dental Filling Procedure
The dental filling procedure is nothing to be afraid of. It is simple and involves the dentist drilling out decayed tooth tissue and filling the hole with a filling of your choice.
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