A cavity occurs when acid from the sugar and starches that you eat begins to erode your teeth’s enamel by making it lose minerals. This happens if you fail to remove this plaque via regular brushing and flossing.
An early sign of tooth decay is the presence of a white spot on your teeth. This, however, can be reversed through the use of proper brushing habits if the cavity is small enough. If not reversed, your enamel will continue to be attacked by the acid, which will eventually form a hole in your tooth. This is known as a cavity.
At this point, a permanent filling will be needed in order to take care of the cavity and prevent the tooth from further eroding. Here is a step-by-step guide on how cavities are filled:
- Most dentists will dry your mouth by spraying air inside it. A numbing gel will then be applied, followed by an injection (local anesthetic) so that you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. You might be offered a rubber dam or a bite block depending upon the location of the cavity and the type of filling that is being used.
- The bacteria (or plaque) in your mouth will be professionally removed.
- The dentist will then remove the part of your tooth that is decayed. This involves the use of the dental drill (high-speed handpiece), which sprays water into your mouth. At the same time, the dental assistant will use the high-volume suction to get rid of the water along with the debris from the decayed tooth. The last part of removing tooth decay and preparing your mouth for the filling is through the use of a slow-speed handpiece.
- After your mouth has been prepared for the filling through the removal of the decayed portion of the tooth, a liner will then be put in your mouth to limit any tooth sensitivity.
- The hole in your tooth will then be filled with a hard material that resembles a tooth – this is known as a dental filling. This portion of the dental procedure can differ depending on the type of filling used. Some of the most common types of fillings are silver (amalgam) and white (resin), although the latter is not used by some dentists. The filling will be placed over the lining to build up or fill in the decayed part of the tooth.
- The last step will involve your dentist giving you carbon paper to bite on to ensure that the filling isn’t too high. If it is, the high-speed handpiece will be used to file it to its proper place.
Despite cavities being an easy fix, we do understand that dental fears can loom for some patients when having to visit the dentist. If that’s the case, the Dawson Dental staff will happily speak to you about our available sedation options. Our team of professionals is knowledgeable and caring. If you suspect you have a cavity, contact us today.