Dental fillings are among the most common dental treatments done in a dental office aside from routine dental cleanings. This is because tooth decay is the most common chronic illness in children and adolescents aged 6-19, while 9 out of 10 adults over the age of 20 have had some degree of tooth or root decay, according to the CDC. While our bodies have been blessed with the ability to self-heal, our teeth, on the other hand, do not have that type of mechanism in place. That is why it’s extremely important to treat all cavities as soon as your dentist diagnoses a tooth with having a cavity.
An untreated cavity can eventually lead to bigger problems, such as an eventual root canal, crown or in some cases lead to complete tooth loss. Gone untreated, bigger issues such as teeth shifting and misaligned bites can commence.
When your dentist fills a tooth, they first remove all the decay from the infected tooth. They clean the area very well, and then use a specialized material to fill in the cavity.
There are a few types of material used to fill a tooth. The two most common are a silver amalgam material and a composite resin material. A composite filling is very natural looking and is custom matched to the shade of your teeth, making it an aesthetically pleasing choice.
In order to avoid tooth decay, good oral hygiene includes
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaner
- Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examination
- Check with your dentist about the use of supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth, and about the use of dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from decay