Several things can cause tooth decay, such as poor oral hygiene or excessive sugary foods. Unfortunately, if left unchecked or treated, this decay will eventually result in the need for a tooth filling in the cavity it causes.
When it comes to cavities, the best-case scenario is that it’s caught during a routine tooth examination by your dentist. Because, once you notice other signs yourself, this typically means that it has developed to the point that it will need filling. In some cases, a root canal may be required if the damage to your tooth is severe enough.
What are Tooth Fillings For?
When tooth decay begins setting in, it causes a cavity. To fix the issue and prevent it from spreading, your dentist will drill out a small portion of your tooth to get rid of the decaying tooth material.
Once they’ve done this, the filling material is put into the hole. Several materials are commonly used today for fillings. Gold, porcelain, tooth-coloured plastic, composite resin, and silver amalgam are all potential options. Each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Signs You Need a Tooth Filling
These are 5 signs that you may need a tooth filling. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it’s important that you see your dentist as soon as possible. The earlier the problems with your teeth are dealt with, the less chance you have of needing extensive restorative procedures, such as root canals or crowns.
Existing Filling is Cracked
If you’ve had issues with cavities in the past and you have fillings. They can crack and wear out over time. Once your filling cracks, it leaves an opportunity for germs and other contaminants to build up and for the tooth decay to start again.
A cracked filling (or if it falls out) can be a big problem. So, if this happens, it’s important that you call your dentist right away. They will usually book you in quite quickly to assess the situation.
If you’re suddenly experiencing discomfort in a particular area while chewing, this could be the beginning stages of a cavity. When left unchecked, you may eventually experience discomfort without even chewing.
As the enamel on our teeth wears down, we can experience sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. This doesn’t automatically mean you have cavities or tooth decay, but it’s a potential sign. If brushing with toothpaste for sensitive teeth doesn’t help, you should book an appointment with your dentist.
If it’s been a while since you’ve visited the dentist and you notice a dark spot on a tooth, this could be the beginnings of a cavity. It may also have a rough texture. Sometimes a fluoride treatment can reverse the very beginning stages of a cavity, so time is of the essence.
Noticeable damage to your teeth is a really strong indicator that you should see a dentist. This could include chipped or damaged teeth, tearing dental floss while cleaning your teeth, or food getting stuck in unusual places on the tooth. Depending on the damage, it could result in the tooth needing to be extracted if left untreated.
Preventing the Need for Tooth Fillings
Your first line of defence against tooth decay is proper oral hygiene. This includes:
- Brushing after every meal, or at least twice a day with a dentist-approved fluoride toothpaste.
- Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash as directed by your dentist.
- Eating healthy foods and avoiding sugary and acidic foods as much as possible.
In addition to taking care of your teeth at home, there are a couple of other things you can do to reduce your risk of requiring fillings down the road:
- Visit your dentist regularly—in Canada, the Canadian Dental Association recommends a visit every six months. Ask your dentist for their recommendation based on your particular situation.
- Get a fluoride treatment during your dental examination.
- Ask your dentist about dental sealants.
- Ask your dentist if an antibacterial treatment is a good idea in your situation.
Importance of Regular Dental Examinations
If left untreated, tooth decay can cause all sorts of issues ranging from sensitivity to infection deep within your tooth’s structure. In most cases, early detection of problems in your teeth, such as tooth decay or cavities, gives you your best chance at needing minimal corrective procedures.
If it’s time for your routine dental examination or you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, give our office a call today. The experienced and helpful staff of Maplebrook Dental are happy to answer all your questions and get you in to see one of our dentists so you can keep on smiling.