When you visit the dentist for a regular dental examination, you probably hope to come away having heard the words, “No cavities.”
Sometimes, however, no matter how well you care for your teeth, tooth decay can occur, and you might need a dental filling to repair the tooth, stop the spread of infection, and prevent the tooth from becoming further damaged or structurally compromised.
What Is a Dental Filling?
A dental filling is a dental treatment intended to repair and protect a tooth from tooth decay. Usually composed of a special composite resin and matched to a tooth’s natural color, dental fillings fill tooth caries, restoring a tooth’s natural shape and preventing further decay.
How To Tell If You Need a Filling
Tooth decay can be difficult to see with the naked eye and often doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms until the decay has reached the inner portion of the tooth — the dentin that’s exposed to the tooth’s nervous system.
The only way to know you need a filling for certain is to visit the dentist and receive a diagnosis of cavities.
Sometimes, however, a cavity does cause symptoms including:
- Sensitivity or pain when exposed to hot or cold foods or drinks
- Sensitivity or pain when exposed to sugary foods or drinks
- Sensitivity or pain with pressure
- One or more brown, dark, or discolored spots on the teeth
- Noticing that food or dental floss repeatedly gets stuck in the same place on your tooth
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should schedule a dental examination as soon as possible.
What Happens If I Don’t Get a Filling When I Need One?
If you leave a cavity untreated, the tooth decay will inevitably worsen, leading to more serious health problems.
In addition to developing larger cavities that cause significant pain, your tooth structure may become compromised, resulting in tooth loss. Leaving a cavity untreated can also result in the spread of bacterial infection that may infect the roots of your tooth or your jawbone. Harmful bacteria can even enter your bloodstream, leading to generalized inflammation and systemic problems throughout your body.
What To Expect When You Need a Filling
Getting a filling is a fairly simple process. To begin, Dr. Sato administers a local anesthetic to ensure you’re comfortable and pain-free throughout the process.
He then prepares the tooth by drilling out the infected areas and then cleaning out and drying the cavity to make sure no more bacteria are present.
Finally, our dentist applies, shapes, and cures a composite resin in a color selected to blend seamlessly with your natural tooth. We might recommend that you avoid chewing solid foods for the rest of the day, but otherwise, you can resume normal activities after getting a filling.
Safeguard Your Smile! Schedule a Dental Exam With Dr. Sato
If you’re experiencing any symptoms of tooth decay or are overdue for your next dental cleaning and examination, then we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment at Steve A. Sato, DDS.
We can take a close look at your teeth and gums to determine whether you have any signs of tooth decay and provide you with professional treatments to protect your smile from problems in the future.