Despite our best efforts and yours, patients still sometimes suffer tooth decay and develop cavities in their teeth. When this occurs, the most common treatment is a dental filling.
What Is a Dental Filling?
A dental filling is a treatment designed to fill a cavity (also called dental caries) in a tooth, arrest further tooth decay, and restore the tooth to its original form.
Traditionally, a silver metal amalgam material was used to fill cavities in teeth. Today, however, dentists and patients can choose from a variety of dental filling materials. The most popular is a composite resin which can be dyed to match a patient’s natural tooth color. Composite resin fillings look natural and do not detract from the natural aesthetic of a patient’s smile the way that metal dental fillings can.
When You Might Need a Dental Filling
Dental fillings are most commonly required as a result of cavities (also called caries). Dental cavities form due to tooth decay which occurs when the acids produced by oral bacteria eat a hole into a patient’s tooth enamel and/or dentin layer. Dental fillings might also be necessary as a result of an injury or to repair a chipped or cracked tooth.
Signs and Symptoms of Dental Caries
Early tooth decay often occurs with no symptoms, and some patients with full-on dental cavities also don’t experience noticeable symptoms. These issues can then only be detected and diagnosed with a dental exam.
Sometimes, however, dental cavities do cause symptoms, and these signs and symptoms include:
- Painful tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Painful tooth sensitivity to pressure when biting down
- Painful tooth sensitivity to sugar or sweet foods and beverages
- A visible hole in the tooth
- A dark brown or black spot on the tooth
- Dental floss repeatedly catches or sticks in a particular spot on a tooth
If you experience any of these symptoms, we strongly encourage you to schedule a dental examination right away rather than waiting for your next routine dental appointment.
The Purpose of Getting a Dental Filling
If you need a dental filling, it is extremely important to go through with the treatment as soon as possible because dental fillings actually prevent oral health problems from worsening.
Large cavities are not only painful for most people, but they can also weaken a tooth’s overall structure, leaving it compromised to serious damage. Left unaddressed, dental cavities grow larger and expand into the pulp (the interior tissue) of a tooth. When this happens, root canal therapy and a dental crown treatment becomes necessary to save the natural tooth.
What To Expect When Getting a Dental Filling
Getting a dental filling is a fairly simple procedure that can usually be completed in about an hour-long appointment.
The appointment begins with the administration of a local anesthetic that ensures you do not experience any pain or discomfort during your treatment. Once the treatment area has been fully numbed, Dr. Gerda will use a dental drill to clean the decayed area of the patient’s tooth, removing all bacteria and diseased tissues from the tooth.
We then clean and dry the cavity. Once ready, we fill the cavity with a composite resin material that has been dyed to match the surrounding tooth enamel. The resin is shaped and molded to resemble the natural tooth’s surface, and the filling is then cured and hardened with a special light. Finally, we polish the filling to ensure a comfortable fit and bite for the patient.
Dental Fillings With Our Dentist in Columbus, Ohio
At Gerda Family Dental, we’re proud to provide our patients with a wide variety of preventive and restorative dental treatments, including dental fillings, to help our patients maintain good oral health for life. If you require a dental filling or suspect you might have a cavity, we welcome you to contact our dental office in Columbus to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gerda today.