©American Dental Association
What is a Cavity?
A cavity, also known as dental caries, is a permanently damaged areas in a tooth that develop into tiny holes. They are caused by bacteria, snacking, sipping sugary drinks, and poor teeth cleaning.
There may be no symptoms. Untreated cavities can cause a toothache, infection, and tooth loss.
Treatments include fluoride, fillings, and crowns. Severe cases may need a root canal or removal of the tooth if its too large to save. Here we will discuss fillings.
Composite resins, or tooth-colored fillings, provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small- to mid-size fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from the constant stress of chewing. They can be used on either front or back teeth. They are a good choice for people who prefer that their fillings look more natural.
Composites cost more than amalgam and occasionally are not covered by some insurance plans. Also, no dental filling lasts forever. Composite fillings are less durable and need to be replaced more often than the old metal silver mercury fillings.
It generally takes longer to place a composite filling than it does for a metal filling. That’s because composite fillings require the tooth be kept clean and dry while the cavity is being filled. Tooth-colored fillings are now used more often than metal fillings, mostly due to cosmetics but also due to concerns raised in the media about mercury in the fillings. In a society focused on a white, bright smile, people tend to want fillings that blend with the natural color of their teeth.
Ultimately, the best dental filling is no dental filling. Prevention is the best medicine.
Decrease your risk of cavities and other dental diseases simply by:
- brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- flossing daily
- eating a balanced diet
- visiting the dentist regularly.