As heart breaking as those 4 words may sound, there is hope. It is now time to treat that cavity. Contrary to popular belief you the patient, have a say in the type of treatment you receive. Open dialog between the patient and the doctor is now widely encouraged. Together you and your dentist can find the perfect option.
How Are Cavities Treated?
Cavities are treated by drilling out the decayed area of the tooth and filling it with composite resin, silver alloy, gold or porcelain. For large cavities, a crown cap made of porcelain or gold is usually used to keep the tooth from breaking. Incase the decay has reached the tooth nerve, you will need a root canal procedure inorder to remove the nerve. To eliminate the pain while your cavity is being treated, you dentist will numb the area with lidocaine or a nitrous oxide. During the regular dental exam, your dentist will be able to spot any signs of oral cancer. If you suspect a cavity, you should see your dentist.
Things Your Dentist Will Consider:
- The location of your cavity as well as its size
- Your overall oral health history
- What type of material you prefer (this will be explained later)
Your Dentist Also consider:
- Will this type of filling look good in your mouth?
- Which type of filling will last the longest?
- Does your insurance cover the option you prefer?
The various dental filling options include:
- Composite resins, which are fillings the same color as your tooth. They are very durable and highly resistant to fractures when used in small to medium sized fillings. Very versatile, the are great for front and back teeth alike.
- Amalgam fillings are the silver fillings you may see. They are made using mercury, silver, copper and tin.
- Gold fillings also go by the name of inlay or onlay. As the name suggest, they are of course made of gold. They also have copper and various other medals. Its one downfall? The expense.
It really depends on what type of cavity you have as to what type of filling will work best for you. For the back teeth where you use a lot of force to chew food, amalgam is best. If you want a natural looking tooth or your filling is in the front teeth, then composite is the best choice. If composite is not a feasible option due to the size or location of the filling, then some patients opt to fork over the cash for gold inlays.
Never forget you have a choice in your care. You will recall that one of the ingredients in amalgam is mercury. However, you must not concern yourself with this fact as there are no negative studies to suggest that the mercury level is harmful in anyway. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Health Organization have both deemed this material to be safe.
If you think you have a cavity or if your dentist diagnosed one at your last dental visit, you must have it filled. A filling keeps the decay from spreading and must bed one promptly and early to be successful.If not treated promptly it could turn into a more serious issue. The sooner you fill it the better chance you have to stop it from growing or spreading to other teeth.
Lets be honest, the best filling is no filling. You can loose good teeth to an untreated cavity. Prevention is always best. Try the following to reduce your chance of developing a cavity:
- Brush twice daily (at a minimum)
- Use fluoride toothpaste
- Floss everyday
- Eat healthier foods
- Visit your dentist annually
If you have any questions, Feel free to ask a dentist online here.