Dental Fillings—What You Need To Know

Dental fillings are notoriously bad news. No one likes to be told that they need a filling. People associate these little restorations with pain, drilling, shots, and ugly metal smiles.
Despite their reputation, however, fillings are tiny superheroes that have been slowing the tide of tooth decay for centuries.

Why We Need Dental Fillings

Did you know that tooth decay is caused by bacteria?
  • Cavities are actually a sign of an infection in a tooth. There are certain germs in the mouth that feed off the sugars you eat and then secrete acids that wear away at your tooth enamel. The result? Holes that we call cavities. More bacteria move into these holes and continue the destructive process.

  • The deeper a cavity grows, the greater the damage to the tooth. The cavity can grow until the tooth is too weak to withstand normal biting forces. If the infection reaches the pulp or nerve chamber, it can cause nerve inflammation and trigger a painful dental abscess – ouch!

  • Teeth don’t grow back on their own and have little defense against cavity-causing bacteria. Once decay takes root, the only option is to remove the infected tooth tissue and fill in the hole with a replacement material. That’s exactly what a dental filling does.

  • Dental fillings don’t make a tooth immune to decay, but they are the best option for stopping a cavity in its tracks.

What Happens When You Get a Filling

A dentist like Dr. Guzmán uses x-rays to verify the size and extent of the decay and plans the restoration accordingly. He will use a couple kinds of drills to make sure all the rotted and infected tooth is gone. He then cleans the inside of the tooth and prepares it to receive a filling material.
Some kinds of fillings are prepared outside the mouth while others are poured directly into the tooth. Some of these white “direct” restorations need to be cured with a blue light to help them set.
Within an hour (much less for small fillings), you’ll be all set to go with a newly-fortified tooth.
Getting a filling doesn’t have to hurt! You’ll have plenty of anesthetics and even dental sedation options to choose from. Your tooth will be so numb that all you might feel is some slight pressure as Dr. Guzmán drills away the cavity. Your comfort is our priority at Asiri Family Dentistry. Talk with us beforehand to let us know your questions and concerns about getting a dental filling. We’ll be happy to accommodate your needs!

What Happens When You Skip Dental Fillings

Fillings are great and all, but what if you don’t have the time or money to get one right now?

Leaving a cavity untreated will likely cost you more in time and money in the future than if you fill it right now. You may also have to endure a lot of unnecessary pain by leaving a cavity unfilled.

Decay very rarely stops by itself. Even when it does, it could be too late and your tooth might fracture from having a big hole in it. Even more likely, you could develop a throbbing toothache which turns into an abscess.

Once the tooth nerve dies in an abscess, it has to be eliminated. That infection, in turn, can spread to affect your jaw, brain, throat, or other parts of your body. At this point, a root canal or even extraction may be your only options.

So getting that filling done at the right time can spare you a lot of discomfort down the road. Fillings can add years, possibly even decades to the life of your tooth.

Dental Fillings: Are They Right for You?

Most people end up needing at least a few fillings over the course of their lifetime so there’s a good chance you’ll need some, too. But by taking the right steps you might be able to reduce your chances of needing dental work.
Early decay can occasionally reverse itself when the tooth is exposed to plenty of fluoride and the right minerals. You can prevent decay with dental sealants and professional fluoride treatments.
Watch your diet. If you drink water as your only beverage, get plenty of calcium, and choose whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables over processed foods, then you stand a good chance of avoiding decay.
If your tooth reaches the point of needing a filling to treat decay, however, there is no going back. A filling is probably the best way to save your tooth and avoid the need for more serious treatment.

Restorative Dentist in The Woodlands, TX

If you have a tooth that’s broken or decayed, you might need a dental filling or some other restoration. Dr. Guzmán is currently welcoming new patients into Asiri Family Dentistry. Call our team today to schedule your consultation!