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Do I Treat My Tooth Decay With a Dental Filling?
A dental filling offers a quick, relatively painless way to handle unsightly or bothersome cavities. No matter what age you are, tooth decay, also known as cavities, is something to keep an eye out for, but treatment doesn’t have to be difficult.
What is tooth decay?
Cavities, also known as decay, are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth that will develop into small openings or holes. When this is left untreated, cavities will get larger and affect more layers of your tooth. This can lead to a bad toothache, an infection and in extreme cases, tooth loss.
There are several things that can cause tooth decay. Most of the time, it is a combination of unhealthy eating habits, bacteria overgrowth in your mouth, sugary foods like candies and treats, drinks like soda or shakes and of course, poor oral hygiene.
One of the silent killers of dental health would be plaque. Plaque is easily recognized as a sticky, clear film that coats the top layer of your teeth. This happens from eating sugary and starchy foods, as well as maintaining poor oral hygiene. Without brushing the teeth after eating these types of food, the bacteria in the mouth will begin to feed on the leftover sugars and form a film of plaque. If left unbrushed, the plaque will eventually harden under or above the gum line, creating tartar deposits.
How to tell if you need a filling
The symptoms of tooth decay can vary from person to person. However, below is a list from the Mayo Clinic of universal signs to watch out for in regards to cavities.
Signs you may need a filling
- A spontaneous toothache that comes without any apparent cause
- Sensitive teeth
- Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold
- Visible holes or pits in teeth
- Black, brown or white staining on any surface of a tooth
- Pain when biting down
What types of materials are used for a dental filling?
There are multiple types of fillings that can be used to help treat your cavities. One of the benefits to this is that some people might be allergic to a certain metal. Thanks to numerous options, no one has to suffer the consequences of having untreated cavities.
Depending on what you and your dentist decide, your teeth can be filled with gold, porcelain, silver amalgam (this consists of mercury, silver, tin, zinc and copper), tooth-colored plastic and a material called composite-resin. Glass ionomer is another material that can be used; according to the Oral Health Foundation, this type of filling will form a chemical link with your tooth. Glass ionomer fillings may also release fluoride to help prevent your teeth from decaying further.
If caught in the early stages, repairing your cavity with a dental filling may be the perfect fit for you. Contact us today so we can set you up with an appointment to help get your oral health back on track.
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