How Dental Fillings Are Applied in the Treatment of Cavities
Dental cavities are almost a universal affliction, with 91% of adults having had them either as a child or as an adult. Over 175 million dental fillings are applied every year to fill in the holes created after your dentist has removed this infection of the teeth (which is nicknamed a cavity, but is technically known as dental caries).
Best Technique for Brushing and Flossing
Caries are caused by bacteria that feed on tiny particles of food that are not cleaned off of teeth with brushing and flossing. Very few Americans grew up knowing how to properly do this: brushing needs to be done for two full minutes after breakfast or lunch, stroking from the gum line to the top of the teeth on both front and back. Then it needs to be repeated after dinner or your last snack of the night.
Floss needs to be done once before you go to sleep. The string should be held so it scrapes against both sides of each tooth and each time it needs to be moved so a clean part is each space between the teeth, to avoid contamination. If you are uncertain exactly how to do brushing or flossing, ask your dental hygienist to show you on your next visit.
Unfortunately, cavities do not cause pain early on, so they can do a lot of damage before you know you have a problem. They can destroy the two outer surfaces of a tooth, the enamel and the dentin layer that protect the vulnerable inner core. If the infection reaches the root of a tooth, a root canal would be required to clean it out.
Even the traditional semi-annual dental exam cannot always detect tiny cavities without a digital x-ray (which emits minimal radiation), so preventing them with good oral hygiene habits and having your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year is very important.
How Cavities Are Treated
The good news is that once detected, there is no pain involved in treatment. First, Dr. Pirian numbs the infected tooth, then digs out the infection, applies a composite resin, is shaped to fill the hole, and finally smoothed so it is comfortable. Resin is a material that can be shaded to exactly match the rest of the tooth and the neighboring teeth, so no one will know you even had a cavity (unlike the old silver amalgam fillings). The resin is then hardened with a special light. It takes only about an hour to apply one filling.
With proper care, a composite filling can last many years, so it is an affordable solution to a serious and common problem. If you have not seen your dentist in the past year or are experiencing pain you believe may be from a cavity, call Parthenia Family Dental as soon as possible to set up a full dental exam.