Halloween candy seems like a great idea until your teeth start to ache.
Your favorite chocolate bar or sweet treat could spell disaster for you or your little ones. Even if you’re brushing and flossing, you’re at risk.
According to the CDC, more than 90% of adults in the U.S. have had a cavity. In fact, one in four people has untreated cavities.
Whether you’re getting a cavity filled yourself or preparing a family member, it helps to know what to expect. Keep reading for our guide on the entire cavity filling process. With this guide, you’ll know how to recognize the decay and what to expect during the procedure.
Prepare yourself and your loved ones with this guide.
1. How Decay Develops
Improper brushing and flossing can leave food particles lodged in your teeth. In time, plaque will start to build as well. Sticky and sweet foods (including candies) can cling on even longer without the right oral hygiene.
Leaving these particles will cause bacteria to accumulate. Then, toxins and acid will release, dissolving your tooth’s enamel.
Enamel is the top layer of your tooth. With time, the toxins can break down the enamel and cause discoloration. You’ll start to notice your teeth yellow.
Weeks without treatment will cause your teeth to darken in color. As your tooth chips away, a cavity will start to form.
2. How to Recognize Decay
42% of kids age 2 to 11 have tooth decay. Of that group, 23% haven’t treated the problem.
How can you recognize decay? While the overall appearance can vary on a case by case basis, here are a few signs of tooth decay to look for:
- Discolored areas (check back teeth grooves and valleys)
- Dark spots against your front teeth
- Chipped teeth, especially areas your tongue rubs again
- Holes (where food can get lodged)
When you develop tooth decay, you’ll start to feel mild sensitivity to hot or cold water and food.
Make a note if you start to feel pain when you chew or bite. If you’re in constant pain (and need medication), check with your Alpharetta, GA dentist. It’s likely time to consider getting a cavity filled.
3. Why Fillings Are Important
Cavities are sensitive. They expose the inner nerves of your teeth. Cavities also compromise your tooth’s integrity.
As a result, you could develop a continuous infection until the cavity is filled.
Getting a cavity filled will prevent bacteria and plaque buildup. It will also reinforce your teeth so it doesn’t crack or chip.
4. How Dentists Choose Fillings
There are a few filling materials your dentist might choose, including types of cement like glass ionomer. They might also select silver amalgam fillings. Most dentists, however, choose composite materials.
A composite material cavity filling is a kind of plastic. After chemically bonding with your teeth, the composite is cured with a UV light.
Your dentist will take a look at your cavity before determining what type of filling to use.
The filling will replace the part of your tooth the decay destroyed.
First, your dentist will mold the filling to match the shape of your surrounding teeth. The filling will restore your tooth’s strength to prevent further decay. With a cavity filling, your dentist can restore your tooth’s health and functionality.
Composite fillings can even match your tooth’s original color, so it’s less noticeable.
5. The Procedure
Does it hurt to get a cavity filled?
Nope! If you’re getting a cavity filled, your dentist will start by numbing the decayed tooth. That way, you won’t feel a thing.
First, the dentist will inject a local anesthetic into the affected area. The anesthetic will numb your gums and jaw as well. Once you’re numb, the dentist will use a drill to remove the tooth decay.
Once the decay is gone, they can place your cavity filling. The technique your dentist uses depends on the type of filling.
6. How Much Will It Cost
The cost for your cavity filling will depend on:
- The material your dentist uses for the filling
- The amount of tooth structure remaining
- The size of your filling
Make sure to speak to your dentist about your options to determine the price beforehand.
7. What to Expect After
After the cavity filling process is complete, your filling is good to go. You’ll be able to eat without any precautions. Your tooth is basically good as new!
When done correctly, you won’t even notice where the filling was done.
After getting a cavity filled, you might experience a few mild symptoms, such as slight sensitivity. You might also need bite adjustment if the filling isn’t level with your usual bite.
If you notice any prolonged sensitivity after your procedure, make sure to check with your dentist in Alpharetta, GA.
8. Prevention Maintenance
Instead of experiencing tooth decay and getting a cavity filled, start preventing tooth decay today!
One way to prevent food from getting lodged in your teeth is by applying sealants. You can also apply fluoride to your teeth to protect your enamel from bacterial acid breakdown.
After your filling, maintain it with healthy oral hygiene. This includes flossing, mouthwash, and brushing twice a day.
When you develop positive oral health habits, you can avoid decay, discoloration, and pain. Instead, you can keep your teeth healthy and smile bright!
9. How Long Will It Last
While some people think fillings last forever, that’s not the case.
Make sure to schedule regular checkups. Every three to seven years, your dentist will need to evaluate your filling’s strength.
During this time, make sure to keep an eye out for signs of discoloration, darkening, or chipping.
If you notice these signs, your filling is starting to breakdown. Speak to your Alpharetta, GA dentist about getting a replacement filling as soon as possible.
Getting a Cavity Filled?: Everything You Need to Know
Are you getting a cavity filled? With this guide, you know what to expect. Now you can maintain your oral health and avoid a cavity!
If you think you might have a cavity, don’t fret. Schedule an appointment and we’ll get you squared away.