Services are performed by a general dentist.
What Is A Cavity? & Why Did You Get One?
Cavities are holes in your teeth that are caused by decay. Most cavities are readily noticeable, as the area surrounding the hole generally darkens to a dark brown or gray appearance.
Cavities are usually caused by the presence of certain types of bacteria contained in dental plaque. These bacteria interact with carbohydrates and sugars in the foods you eat to create an acidic environment that will eventually dissolve the protective enamel on the outer layer of your tooth. Once the enamel has been eroded the tooth surface is exposed, leaving just the softer dentin layer, which is vulnerable to decay and the formation of a cavity. Once a cavity is formed the decay process speeds up rapidly and spreads deeper into the tooth.
Why Do I Need A Filling?
If a cavity is allowed to go unfilled the area of decay will grow and eventually enter the tooth’s nerve canal, which is just as painful as it sounds. This can lead to more serious conditions, such as infection or an abscess.
Fillings are also used to replace or repair old, worn down existing fillings or to repair a tooth that has been chipped. Not only will ignoring a cavity increase your chances of discomfort in the short run, it may also require a more difficult and more costly process, such as a root canal, to correct the damage at a later time. We advise that you have all cavities filled as soon as you can.
Made from plastic and glass particles, composite fillings are one of the most popular solutions for filling cavities because they are permanently bonded to the tooth and because they offer the best option available for matching tooth color.
When performing a composite filling your general dentist will apply a cleansing gel, followed by a bonding solution and finally the composite filling material. After it is in place the composite hardens within a few seconds with the application of a high intensity blue light.
When the tooth has been filled and the composite is completely hardened, the general dentist will check your filling to insure that it has the proper shape and look. After performing any necessary adjustments your filling is complete.
New Composite Filling Expectations
Following the filling procedure many patients report a feeling of discomfort at the site of the anesthetic or in the affected tooth itself. In that case your general dentist may recommend the use of an over-the-counter pain medication that contains ibuprofen, such as Advil, to alleviate discomfort. If symptoms persist, return to the general dentist for a follow up visit.
In cases where the decay is quite deep and close to the nerve of the tooth the nerve could already be infected with bacteria. Even after a filling has been placed, there is still a good chance that the tooth may require root canal therapy to relieve the discomfort.
Also, composite fillings may change color over time and can sometimes chip away from the tooth.