Have you discovered a cavity on your tooth? What are you going to do now? It’s a fairly common question since more than 3 million Americans are diagnosed with cavities each year. Cavities are also the leading reason why kids miss school days.
While cavities could ruin your beautiful smile, there are ways to fix it. Here’s what you need to know:
Visit Your Dentist
If you suspect that you have cavities, the best person to talk to is your dentist. At the clinic, your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth. Dental X-rays may also be necessary to assess your situation fully.
Once the dentist confirms the presence and location of the cavity, they will proceed with treatment. The treatment depends on the severity of the cavity. Nevertheless, all treatments for the cavity involve the removal of the decay.
To remove the decay, your dentist will use a drill. In some cases, an air abrasion instrument and laser can be utilized.
Most cases of cavities are treated using dental fillings. This acts as a replacement for the removed portion of your teeth that has decayed.
Once the filling has been placed, the dentist will harden it using a special light. This light speeds up the curing of the filling material.
After that, your dentist will check the shape of your teeth. Then, the dentist will polish the filling to ensure that it aligns well with your bite. Polishing is also important to remove rough parts that could irritate your tongue.
Types of Dental Fillings for Cavities
There are several types of dental filling materials. Each one serves a special role, and it varies on longevity. Here are some of the most common options:
- Composite. This is the most common dental filling dentists use. Composite fillings combine acrylic resin and glass, which are often color-matched to the teeth. This material bonds well to the tooth and can last for 5 to 10 years.
- Ceramic. Ceramic or porcelain fillings give a natural appearance, though they can be pricey. Also, this material requires more than one visit to your dentist to achieve the best results.
- Amalgam. This filling is made of a metal combination, including tin, copper, zinc, and more. It has a silver color and will last longer than composite or ceramic types. Amalgam fillings are cheaper than others, but the color will make it look like there’s food stuck on your teeth.
- Gold. Gold is the most expensive dental filling for obvious reasons. Still, it lasts for a long period. However, many insurance companies aren’t willing to include them in the coverage due to the expensive cost.
- Glass ionomer. This filling is rarely used since it can’t be placed on a spot used for chewing. Still, it’s an option dentists consider for children and decay located along the gum line.
Cavities are easy to fix if diagnosed early. This is why you should visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist will determine the best approach to the cavity depending on your specific case.