What causes cavities in teeth?
Cavities are formed from tooth decay, which is a process that occurs over time. Every time you eat, sugars and starches stick to your teeth. If you do not properly brush your teeth, bacteria quickly begin to feed on these remains and form a structure known as plaque. This plaque creates acid that starts to attack your teeth, first by destroying the hard outer structure of tooth known as enamel, then by affecting the inner layer of tooth known as dentin. The earlier this destruction is caught by a routine checkup at a dentist, the more likely you can solve the issue with a simple filling. If this destruction continues without being taken care of, the decay (or “dental caries”) can expand into the tooth’s inner nerves, known as the pulp, and continue destroying the roots. At this point, a root canal may be needed.
Cavities in children’s teeth are equally important, especially since kids tend to have worse toothbrushing habits and love eating candy. Make sure to prevent cavities in both your and your kids with routine dental brushing and regular dental visits. Save time, effort, and money by coming in for simple regular dental checkups to prevent the need for extensive dental work! We want to save your teeth just as much as you want to!
What are signs and symptoms of cavities?
If you think you have the start of a cavity, here are some signs that you may have a cavity:
- Tooth sensitivity or mild pain when eating something sweet or drinking cold or hot liquids
- Brown or black staining on the surface of a tooth
- Visible holes in your teeth
- Pain when chewing or biting down
- Toothache, including spontaneous or dull pain that can wake you up at night
How do you treat a cavity or get rid of it?
Treatment for fixing a cavity depends on the extent of decay and destruction. The smaller the decay and the sooner the problem is caught, the simpler the solution. Fillings, commonly white-colored composite or sometimes silver amalgam ones, are used to solve smaller problems and can last a very long time if properly maintained. To do a tooth filling, we first need to remove the decayed portion of your tooth and make sure the tooth is free of decay. Next, the filling material will be placed on your tooth and shaped before being hardened. The shape needs to be just right so your bite will fit together correctly.
What about silver vs. white fillings?
Silver fillings (or “amalgam”) were traditionally the first fillings used in dentistry, due to their strength and longevity. While they were not esthetically pleasing, amalgam restorations do have great structural integrity. Currently, the majority of teeth are filled with white cavity fillings, known as “composite” resin fillings. Technology of composite fillings has advanced rapidly in recent years, as these white fillings have become stronger while also having natural esthetics and superior appearance since they blend in with your teeth. We regularly use white dental fillings to make sure your smile is absolutely beautiful!
How long does a filling take?
Fillings provide an affordable and durable restoration that can be placed in less than 30 minutes per tooth, depending on the severity of the decay. As with most dental care, experience matters, and since we place these fillings on a daily basis, we are skilled at completing the procedure in a way that is comfortable, effective, and fast. If you live in the Fort Lee area, we encourage you to consider the many benefits of getting fillings done with us to maintain or improve your smile!
Does getting a cavity filled hurt? Is there tooth sensitivity after a filling?
Nope! We pride ourselves on making sure you are comfortable during every step of your dental treatment. Once you are numbed, you will be far more relaxed as we fix your teeth and restore your tooth with a filling. When the filling is complete, it can take a couple of days to get used to eating on the tooth, so while it will not be particularly uncomfortable, you may have one day where you feel as though you are adjusting.
Sometimes, however, if the cavity is initially deep, we will let you know that it is possible that the decay has reached the pulp and may eventually need a treatment known as a root canal. If there is continued tooth pain or is still sensitive for even weeks after a filling is done, let us know as soon as possible! Our dentists will be happy to take care of you to make sure your teeth are in the bets condition.
Can anyone get a filling?
Unfortunately, no. While we place fillings on a frequent basis, these types of restorations require the tooth to have a certain amount of healthy tooth structure remaining. If the decay is too large and too much of the tooth is gone, a dental crown may be a better solution, because a crown surrounds the tooth like a cap, providing a stronger and more protective restoration.
If I have a wisdom tooth cavity, what can I do?
Wisdom teeth (or third molars) are a unique challenge in that they erupt last in your lifetime while having almost no space to grow in the back of your jaw. Thus, they often erupt in various angles. If a cavity is small on a wisdom tooth, a filling can be done. However, sometimes it may be better to have the wisdom tooth taken out in order to make sure there is enough space for you to properly brush the teeth in the back of your jaw.