Cavities & Causes
Cavities, also known as dental caries, are holes in your teeth caused by decay. Large cavities may be visible since the area surrounding the hole generally looks dark brown or gray.
Cavities are caused by certain types of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria feed on the carbohydrates and sugars left on your teeth from eating. The bacteria forms dental plaque, which creates an acidic environment that dissolves the protective enamel on the outer layer of your tooth. Once the acid succeeds in eroding the enamel, your tooth is exposed, leaving just the softer dentin layer. This results in the formation of a cavity. Left untreated, the decay process rapidly speeds up and spreads deeper into the tooth.
Why Do I Need A Filling?
A filling is necessary to treat your cavity. If left untreated, the decay will grow and will enter into your nerve canal, causing pain, infection or abscess. A filling may also be needed to replace or repair an old worn down filling or to fix a chipped tooth.
In addition to pain, discomfort and possible tooth loss, delaying a filling can result in a more invasive dental process, such as a root canal, to save your tooth. And it could also cost you a lot more money to fix. The bottom line is you should get your cavity filled as soon as you can.
Composite or tooth colored filling is the filling material of choice when it comes to matching your tooth color. They consist of plastic and glass particles. They have become the most popular filling materials because they can match your existing tooth color and they also solidly bond or glue to the tooth.
After the decay in your tooth has been cleaned, Dr. Cruz will apply a cleansing gel. Next, The doctor will apply a bonding solution, finally followed by the composite filling material. Composite is hardened by applying a high intensity blue light. It only takes a few seconds for the materials to harden.
Once the tooth is filled and the composite has hardened, the filling is checked to insure the proper shape and look. At this point any necessary adjustments are made and then your filling is complete.
New Composite Filling Expectations
Following the filling procedure it is very common to experience some discomfort, normally at the site of the anesthetic or at the tooth itself. To alleviate the discomfort you can follow Dr. Yolonda Cruz’s recommendation on taking an over the counter pain medication such as Advil that contains ibuprofen. If your symptoms persist then you should visit Dr. Cruz for an evaluation.
In some cases the decay could be quite deep and close to the nerve of the tooth. In these instances the nerve could already be infected with bacteria. Even though a filling has been placed, there is still a good chance that the tooth may need to go under root canal therapy to relieve the discomfort. Also, composite fillings may change color over time and can sometimes chip away from the tooth.