Everyone knows about cavities; you may unfortunately know what a bummer cavities can be from personal experience. But other than an uncomfortable reason to have to make an extra dentist appointment, do you really know exactly what a cavity is?
Essentially, cavities are tooth decay — damage to the tooth. Tooth decay can be caused when foods with carbohydrates and sugars like breads, soda, candy, and fruit stay on your teeth. When these particles get stuck on or between teeth, the bacteria in your mouth combines with them and turns them into acids. These acids form plaque, and plaque sits on the teeth and can dissolve the enamel of the tooth, which then creates holes — called cavities.
To treat cavities, the dentist will first give you local anesthesia to numb the area surrounding the tooth. Then, the dentist removes the decay with a drill and shapes the space to get it ready for a filling. They then use one of several materials to close off and fill the place where the decay was — this prevents bacteria from entering that space and causing further decay.
There are several different types of materials used for cavity fillings. Resin bonded composite fillings are the standard of care in dentistry today for several reasons. Composite fillings nicely match the color of your teeth, rarely chip, and provide a much stronger seal around the drilled hole. Gold fillings can last over 20 years, but are also usually the most expensive type of filling and require multiple visits to the dentist, since these fillings are made to order in a lab. Amalgam fillings, or silver fillings, last for a long time as well and are less expensive than gold fillings, but since they’re darker in color, they are more noticeable and typically not used for visible areas such as your front teeth. Porcelain fillings are matched to your tooth color and resist staining, but are more expensive and are made to order in a lab.
To prevent cavities, make sure to follow good oral health practices: brushing, flossing, and making regular dentist appointments. Find out more about Dakota Dental’s no-fuss fillings. The dentists at Dakota Dental strive to make getting a filling as easy and pain-free as possible. And Dakota Dental’s Preventative Care Program can help you avoid getting future fillings.
Contact Dakota Dental today for more information about treating or preventing cavities today!