Cavities affect over 3 million Americans every year. In fact, cavities are so prevalent that they are the number-one cause of children missing school. If you or your child is faced with a cavity, it is important to know what to expect.
Depending on how much trouble the cavity is causing, you may feel compelled to put it off for a while. However, you should act as quickly as possible the moment the cavity is discovered. This could save you from experiencing greater health complications down the road.
To prepare you for what’s ahead, let’s explore what typically follows after letting your dentist know that you have a cavity.
Before your cavity can be filled, the area surrounding your tooth will need to be numbed. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to ensure that your discomfort is minimal during the filling procedure. A guard is also used to keep the affected tooth from coming into contact with nearby teeth. This is done to keep contamination from spreading as the dentist works to remove tooth decay.
Once all decay is successfully removed, your dentist will then clean the tooth of any bacteria and debris. At this point, a special material is used to fill in the cavity. It is first applied as a pliable compound but soon hardens after being exposed to a special light.
Finally, your dentist will polish the filling to ensure that your “bite” remains intact and so that you have normal use of your filled tooth.
There are several different types of fillings used when treating a cavity. The most common is that of amalgam. Silver in color, amalgam consists of a combination of silver, zinc, mercury, copper, and tin.
Gold is another type of filling that is prized for its strength and appeal. Yet, it is also one of the most expensive treatment options.
Ceramic or porcelain fillings aren’t quite as durable as metal fillings, but they look much more natural in appearance compared to other types.
Composite resin is a popular choice because it can easily be matched with your natural tooth color, providing you with a seamless appearance. Additionally, children often get resin fillings, as they are easier to fill in small areas.
Knowing what to expect and what options you have will ensure that you have an easier experience the next time you are faced with a cavity.