Cavities, also known as dental caries, are holes in the tooth structure caused by decay.
Bacteria in the mouth called Strep. Mutans create cavities by producing an acid that breaks down enamel. While everyone has this type of bacteria in their mouths, it causes serious damage when it is not kept at bay. In fact, left untreated, the bacteria will continue to corrode the enamel until it reaches the tooth’s inner chamber, where it can cause a large-scale infection.
To keep your teeth healthy, avoid feeding the bacteria with acidic foods and drinks or sugar, which turns into acid. Regular brushing and flossing also help to prevent the bacteria from growing.
Do I need a filling?
A cavity filling is one way dentists restore the structure and health of a tooth. Teeth that have been damaged by decay will likely require cavity fillings. Remember, you can prevent cavities with regular brushing and flossing and by avoiding sugary and acidic foods.
What should I expect?
For any treatment including cavity fillings, we do all we can to ensure the experience is as quick and stress-free as possible. We’ll use a local anesthetic to numb the tooth area, so it won’t cause any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
In cases where the patient is sensitive to our standard anesthetic, we can also numb the area with a silver diamide fluoride. For kids, nitrous provides great results for reducing sensitivity.
Once the tooth is numb, we’ll remove the affected area and replace the missing tooth structure with a composite resin restoration that matches the shade of your tooth. With proper care, a composite filling can last for 10 or more years, depending on the location and size of the filling.