Improving Your Dental Care

4 Questions for Your Dentist About Cavities

Do you have a cavity in a tooth that needs to be filled? You likely have some questions about this problem before you head back to your dentist to have it fixed.

Does a Cavity Need to Be Filled if It Doesn't Hurt?

You may be wondering if it is really necessary to have a cavity filled if you are not experiencing any pain. It is possible for your dentist to catch decay in the very early stages before it starts causing you any pain. The goal is to fix the cavity early before the decay spreads and becomes a bigger cavity that can cause pain. If you let it go for too long, the decay can eventually spread to the root of the tooth and require a root canal.

Can You Pick the Filling Material?

You do have a choice when it comes to the material that is used to fill the cavity. Many dentists use composite resin, amalgam, or gold to fill a cavity, and each material comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. 

A composite resin filling material is going to cost more money, but it will blend in with your teeth and look natural. This is great for cavities on the front surface of teeth that are visible. An amalgam filling is made of a variety of metals and looks silver in color. It is more affordable, but obviously has issues in the looks department. Gold fillings have a stronger durability compared to amalgam, so they'll last longer in the tooth, but like silver will be more visible than composite resin.

Will Filling a Cavity Hurt?

If you have a small cavity, it is possible that you won't feel any pain at all when having the cavity filled and you will not need anesthesia to numb the tooth. If it's a bigger cavity, your dentist will likely use Novocaine to make that part of your mouth feel numb so that you don't experience any pain. All the dentist does when filling a cavity is remove the soft parts of the tooth that are affected by decay, cleans out the tooth to remove all bacteria, and places the filling material inside that bonds with the tooth. 

Will a Filling Feel Weird?

Chances are that the filling will feel different in your mouth at first, especially since you are used to the smooth surface of your tooth. However, the filling's rough edges will wear down over time as your natural bite helps the material conform to the natural shape of your mouth.

For more information about fixing cavities, talk to your local dentist.