Maintaining dental health can give you a beautiful smile, but did you know that regular general dentistry visits can make them stronger as well? Over time, acidic or sugary foods can wear down the enamel on your teeth and weaken them, increasing the odds of breakage, cavities, and chips. If you have concerns about the…
General Dentistry: A Guide to Filling Cavities
Some people who have a cavity may avoid visiting a general dentistry clinic to have it filled because they worry about discomfort and pain during the procedure. However, allowing the cavity to grow may not only cause consistent pain while chewing or speaking but could also result in the eventual loss of the tooth. Today's dental technology makes filling cavities simpler, and understanding the steps involved may ease patients' minds who fear the process.
What causes cavities?
The main cause of cavities and tooth decay is plaque, which forms on the teeth when people fail to brush consistently. Over time, the bacteria in plaque attacks the teeth and feeds on their surfaces. Eventually, tooth erosion begins, and when small, eroded holes become larger, a cavity forms.
Cavities may form more quickly in those who do not practice consistent brushing habits and who eat foods that contain considerable amounts of starch or sugar. While visiting a general dentistry clinic may cause these individuals feelings of anxiety, they may feel more at ease by asking their dentist to explain the steps involved.
The initial exam
Those who discover a cavity may do so because they feel pain in one location of the mouth while chewing or experience sudden sensitivity to hot or cold foods. An initial visit to the dentist will likely confirm the cavity, its depth, and options for having the tooth filled. A dentist and a team of assistants and technicians may also take X-rays of the cavity so the dentist can view it from a variety of angles.
The filling appointment
On the day of the filling appointment, there is little patients must do at home beforehand other than brushing their teeth as they would each morning. Upon arrival, the dental team will do all they can to make patients comfortable before numbing the tooth and the area around it. Once the tooth is properly prepared, the dentist will remove and clear damaged areas of the tooth to make room for the filling. This will not only eliminate the pain a cavity causes but eliminate the risk of infection or a tooth abscess, which can cause a great deal of pain.
A general dentistry clinic may allow patients to choose the type of filling used in a cavity. Selecting a material may depend on several factors, including:
- The location of the cavity
- Its size
- Individual insurance coverage
Patients may also ask for advice on which material may suit their dental needs.
Placing the filling
Once the damaged tooth is prepared, the dental team uses adhesive to bond the filling material onto the tooth. The filling is then placed in the damaged areas until none remain, and the dentist can complete the process by sealing the filling. Lastly, patients will likely receive information about how to care for their filling so it lasts for years.
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Many patients experience dental anxiety when they discover they have a cavity that needs repair, but visiting the dentist rather than letting the damage grow can save the tooth. Discussing a cavity filling with a dentist can alleviate many fears and support overall oral health.
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