Fillings or dental restorations are naturally the most common procedure done by your dentist in the dental office. The most common reasons fillings are generally done is when your tooth has a cavity or is broken.
What Causes Cavities?
Cavities begin in a tooth when a biofilm of bacteria called plaque sits on the surface of the tooth. The bacteria in the plaque use sugar consumed in your diet to make acid that erodes and breaks down the surface of your tooth causing a cavity. A filling is done to clean out the cavity, stop its progression and fill up the part of the tooth destroyed by the decay and bacteria. When a filling is done, the tooth is frozen or anesthetized so that there is no pain while the filling is being completed.
There are many different types of materials used for a filling and at ViVo Dental Westbrook all three dentists are experienced in many different types of restorative materials. If you have any questions about the filling materials you can ask your dentist before the restoration is done. Once your filling is complete the anesthetic will wear off in a few hours and there is generally no issue with the tooth and it feels normal.
How Can I Tell If I Have a Cavity?
Cavities are silent. Most of the time when a cavity is small or even fairly large the tooth doesn’t exhibit any signs or symptoms and you don’t feel any pain or sensitivity. This is why your dentist often recommends routine checkups and periodic x-rays to check for cavities. At ViVo Dental Westbrook we have digital x-rays that produce very sharp images to check for cavities and the radiation dose is 75% less than traditional film x-rays. If a cavity in your tooth gets so big that it starts to hurt, this could mean that your tooth is close to being or already infected, and if so it may need a root canal or extraction so ideally we want to find cavities when they are small so they can be fixed with a simple filling.
When Do I Need a Crown Instead of a Filling?
Sometimes people come to the office when their tooth is broken. Generally if more than half of the tooth is broken then your dentist may recommend a crown to fix the tooth properly since such a large portion of the tooth is broken. However if the broken portion is small it can often be fixed with a filling. Usually the procedure is similar to if the tooth had a cavity.
Contact Our Westbrook Dental Office to Schedule
If you think you may have a cavity or have any questions about fillings then please feel free to call ViVo Dental Westbrook or ask one of our dentists at your next check up.