Sometimes, my patients say, “I know I have a cavity, and I think I need a filling”; Then I ask if they know what a filling is, and they say “No”. And then, the education begins.
Wonder why a Dental filling?…
A filling is needed when we have a cavity. Cavities are decays and can appear as dark, grey or chalky white spots on teeth. They are mostly found on chewing surfaces of teeth (especially the back surfaces). Cavities are treated with sealants (surface cavities) or fillings.
Think of a filling as a good fix to treat a potential bigger problem that could result in pain and infection. When left untreated, cavities can be very painful and would need a more invasive procedure called a root canals.
How to know you need Dental fillings
If you experience symptoms like the following:
- Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet food
- Any area of the tooth appears as dark, grey, or chalky white spot
- Pain that can be traced to the same tooth when you chew or occurs by itself
What to do if you have a cavity
After you have been diagnosed of a cavity, your dentist would give you the option, most possibly for a filling (if it has not infected your nerve, or if you have no symptoms).
The filling can be made of alloy (appears silver) or resin (appears white)
Silver fillings (amalgam) have been used many years ago, and are still in use today to replace decayed areas on teeth (holes on teeth). They are known for durability when used to restore large cavities, ease of placement and less risk of saliva contamination especially in children and special needs population. Controversies have surrounded their impact on general health, due to the mercury content. According to American Dental Association, Silver fillings or amalgams have no negative health consequences because mercury mixed together with other metals compositions, form a very stable material, which does not leach. The downside of amalgams is primarily the silver, darkish appearance which is not esthetic in appearance.
White fillings (composite) are known for the esthetic appearance and serve as the filling of choice in front teeth, and teeth within the smile zone. Composites are also durable, but may be less durable than silver fillings, especially to restore large cavities. Also, they require more time for placement, and are technique sensitive, as they fail when contaminated by fluid.
At Smile League Dental, we are particular about making you have a beautiful smile that is long lasting. Contact us today for any concerns about cavities on 815-782-6243 or smileleaguedental