What is a filling and why do I need one?
A filling is needed when a tooth gets a cavity, the decay needs to be removed and a filling placed. By not removing the cavity, it will get deep in the tooth resulting in the need for more extensive dental work. A filling can be either resin, which is tooth colored, or amalgam, which is silver.
What causes a cavity?
Have you ever noticed your teeth sometimes feel “fuzzy”? This is plaque, which is a sticky layer of bacteria, that build-up on teeth. This bacteria feed on sugar that is eaten and forms acid. The acid breaks down the enamel on a tooth and causes a hole in it (cavity). The cavity eventually spreads to the inside of the tooth called the dentin. If not fixed in a timely manner the cavity can infect the nerve of the tooth, resulting in needing a root canal.
I was told I have cavity, but my tooth doesn’t hurt.
Most people don’t report any symptoms when they have a cavity, until it is deep. A cavity often doesn’t become symptomatic until the cavity has reached the nerve of a tooth. If the cavity gets this deep a root canal and crown would be needed, so it’s important to get cavities taken care of when they are small in size.
How can I prevent needing a filling?
Removing plaque from your teeth by brushing twice and flossing once per day, and reducing the amount of sugar you consume will reduce the chance of getting a cavity, which results in needing a filling.