If you just found out that you have a cavity, you may be wondering how we plan to treat the issue. Fortunately, through routine cleanings every six months we are more likely to detect these issues when they are only a slight inconvenience rather than a serious problem. Having a cavity is no fun but a dental filling can restore the tooth after decay has been removed.
A dental filling uses special material to fill the spaces where decay has been removed to restore the tooth to its nature appearance and strength. While the tooth-colored resin used for a dental filling may also be used for purely cosmetic reasons such as hiding a small discoloration, chip or gap between your teeth, in most cases a dental filling is used to treat a cavity.
If you have a cavity the first thing we will need to do is remove the decay. We will first numb the area with numbing gel and then local anesthesia so that you don’t feel any discomfort during your procedure. Next, we will use a dental drill to remove the decaying areas of your tooth. Once we have checked to make sure all decay has been removed then we will begin to rebuild the tooth using a dental filling.
As you may already know, a dental filling can be made from different materials. For purely aesthetic reasons, most patients opt for tooth-colored fillings made from composite resin. If you choose a tooth-colored filling we can choose the shade of the resin to match the tooth so that the dental filling isn’t visible. Of course, metal fillings are still used today because they are more resilient than even tooth-colored fillings and can be a better option for molars and back teeth, which take on more force and pressure from the jaws when chewing and speaking.
If you are getting a composite resin filling we will apply the moldable resin in layers. Each layer will then be hardened immediately using a special dental light. We will continue to apply layer after layer until the tooth is completely filled. Once the last layer is hardened we may still need to trim the filling before giving it a final polish.
If you have questions about getting a dental filling or worry that you may have a cavity then it’s time you called our Alexandria, VA dental office at 703-751-3880.