A dental cavity causes a heightened tooth sensitivity or toothache, but in the earliest stages, tooth decay may not be evident during a dental checkup. Though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, subjected to a mix of starches and acids, enamel temporarily softens as essential minerals leech out. Bacteria called S. mutans invade the compromised enamel, and cavities form. Saliva eventually provides the enamel with sufficient calcium and phosphorus to re-harden, but the cavities don’t heal naturally. In fact, once demineralisation occurs and bacteria infiltrate a tooth’s enamel, those bacteria continue to create more and more decay.
Cavities will grow and, left untreated, can lead to irreparable internal tooth infection, abscess, and even blood borne infection – not nice!
Only 1% of humans are immune to dental cavities. This means, you’re very likely to experience tooth decay at some point during your lifetime. By attending six-month dental checkups, you’ll allow the Silk Dental Care team to regularly inspect your teeth for signs of demineralisation, the first indicator of decay.
What are Fillings?
Dental fillings replace tooth structure that has decayed. In the past, dentists used a metal amalgam material for fillings, but today Dr. Murray-Curtis prefers non-metallic, composite resin fillings. Also referred to as “white fillings” or “tooth-coloured fillings”, composite fillings look natural. They’re practically undetectable, so you can enjoy the confidence of having an all-white smile, even after dental work. Composite resin dental fillings bridge the gap between restorative and cosmetic dentistry by addressing function, form, and beauty.
What Should I Expect When a Filling is Placed?
Dr. Murray-Curtis will first numb your tooth and the surrounding area with a local anaesthetic. He will carefully clean out the cavity, removing bacteria and decayed/decaying tissue. Your tooth will then have a hole that needs to be filled. If your decay is extensive, you may need an inlay, onlay, or crown, which will require a follow-up appointment. However, if a filling will provide sufficient restoration, Dr. Murray-Curtis will fill the hole with a custom-shaded, liquid composite resin. A soft, cool curing light held over the filling for a brief time will help the restoration dry and harden. The dentist will then check your bite to make sure that your upper and lower teeth fit together properly. He may shape the filling a bit for optimal occlusion. Placing a dental filling requires just one appointment.
What are the Benefits of Fillings?
When Dr. Murray-Curtis diagnoses you with a cavity, acting quickly to receive a filling is in your best interest. While you may feel the desire to postpone treatment, consider the following benefits of dental fillings, and why visiting us immediately is your best choice:
- A dental filling removes bacteria, which, if left in place, may lead to more advanced problems, such as an infected tooth or abscess. Receiving a filling may prevent a need for more complicated treatments, such as a root canal or extraction and tooth replacement.
- Composite fillings do not conduct heat or cold, so you will not experience intense sensitivity due to changes in temperature, as you would with amalgam fillings.
- A tooth-coloured filling is undetectable, so you can smile with confidence.
- Tooth decay smells bad, so by eliminating decayed/decaying tissue from your mouth, you’ll reduce the potential for bad breath.
Will I Make a Good Candidate for Dental Fillings?
Have you been diagnosed with a cavity? If so, you instantly make an excellent candidate for a dental filling. However, if you feel particularly anxious about dental procedures, Dr. Murray-Curtis encourages you to speak with him about your concerns. He may offer you a form of sedation, by way of nitrous oxide, so you can remain comfortable throughout dental procedures.