The vast majority of individuals will suffer from a dental cavity at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, once a cavity forms, there is no way for the tooth to heal itself. You must visit a dentist for restorative treatment. In most cases, it is possible to stop the decay and protect the tooth from further damage with a simple tooth-colored composite resin filling. Let’s talk more about what fillings are, how you can tell if you need one, and what you can expect during and after the treatment process.
What Are Dental Fillings?
A cavity is a small hole in a tooth, and a dental filling “fills” in that space. The filling’s purpose is to protect the sensitive inner layers of the tooth from further damage. It can thus relieve oral pain and sensitivity and prevent the need for more extensive dental treatment in the future.
In the past, silver amalgam (a dark-colored mix of mercury and other metals) was the material of choice for dental filling. However, Dr. Patel believes that metal fillings are largely obsolete. That is why he uses a tooth-colored composite resin to treat cavities. The resin is aesthetically superior to amalgam and offers reliable, long-lasting results.
Do You Need a Filling?
During your biannual dental exams, Dr. Patel always examines your teeth for signs of new dental decay. If he spots a cavity, or if he notices that one of your old fillings is missing or damaged, he will recommend that you receive a new one.
While a professional dental exam is the best way to determine if you need a filling, other signs that you may need this treatment include:
- One of your teeth is particularly sensitive to hot and cold
- You have a toothache
- There is a noticeable hole in one of your teeth
- Food always seems to get stuck between certain teeth, or your floss consistently gets caught in a certain spot
What Is the Filling Treatment Process?
Depending on how deep the cavity is, you may need some local anesthetic to keep you comfortable during the procedure. If you’re particularly nervous about the treatment, you can also ask about mild sedation to help you relax.
Once you are comfortable, your tooth will be dried and kept dry for the duration of the procedure. Then, Dr. Patel will carefully remove the decayed portion of your tooth. Next, he’ll insert the composite resin into the cavity in layers. A special light hardens the resin in a matter of seconds and helps it bond to the dentition around it. Last, Dr. Patel will shape the filling so it feels as natural as possible in your mouth.
Fillings can help you maintain a healthy, beautiful, and fully functional smile. To find out if you need this minor restorative treatment, visit your dentist for a checkup.
About the Author
Dr. Paresh B. Patel is a highly accomplished, multi-award winning dentist who serves families in Frisco and the surrounding communities. If you believe you need to have a cavity filled, or you would like to learn more about the benefits of tooth-colored composite resin fillings, contact our office today at 469-362-3150.