Tooth filling for cavities: What you need to know


According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, more than 90 percent of adults have cavities, which means you will probably experience at least one dental cavity in your lifetime. If you are currently struggling with cavities and want to get treatment, here is what you need to know.

Why we get cavities

Cavities are the result of the beginning stages of tooth decay. These tiny, darkened areas are holes in your teeth that have permanent damage caused by a variety of factors, such as bacterial build up in the mouth, frequent snacking, consuming high sugar foods, and lack of proper oral hygiene including brushing and flossing.

If these decaying areas are left untreated, they can eventually cause a lot of problems. These problems include sensitivity, sharp pain while eating, severe toothaches, infection, and even tooth loss! If you ever experience these symptoms, it’s best to see your Dentist and get your cavities filled to prevent further damage.

What are tooth fillings?

Dentists treat cavities by removing the damaged and decaying part of the tooth and then filling that region with a variety of different materials. Usually fillings are made with composite resin materials and are known to last on average of 8 years if properly taken care of.  In some instances, tooth fillings can also be used to repair broken, dented, or worn out teeth.

What are the types of filling materials available?

A cavity can be filled with various materials, but mainly composite resin, gold, silver amalgam, porcelain and glass ionomer are the most common used. You can discuss the available options with your dentist and decide the filling material that is best suited for you and your lifestyle.

Cast gold fillings last for a very long time and are very strong. However, they are expensive and require additional visits to the dentist.  Some patients also experience galvanic shock, although this is rare.

Silver amalgam fillings are also very durable. They are the more economical option over composite fillings, however, they do not match the color of natural teeth and are more likely to cause cracks.  Silver amalgams require a lot of space in the tooth, so sometimes even healthy parts of the tooth need to be removed to make room. Because silver amalgams contain mercury, a small number of people also experience allergic reactions.

Lastly, composite fillings are the most common option and best aesthetic choice. They are bonded to the tooth structure and require less of the tooth to be removed in comparison to amalgam fillings. However, composite fillings are not as durable and over time can chip away.

What does the procedure look like?

The tooth filling procedure takes place after your dentist examines your teeth for the extent and location of your cavities. The procedure itself starts with some local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth that is to be filled. Then the decaying area is removed carefully using a drill, an air abrasion instrument, or a laser.  What instruments your dentist will use will depend on the extend and location of the cavity.

After the decayed portion has been removed, your dentist will prepare that region for the filling.  They will ensure the cavity is cleaned from all debris and bacteria and carefully fill it with composite resin.  If the cavity is deep and too close to the root of the tooth, the dentist will place a liner to protect the nerve before proceeding to fill the cavity.  Finally, the filling will go under a blue LED light to be hardened and will be completed with a final polishing.

With this information about tooth fillings, you can now be a little more confident walking into the dentist’s office.

At Go Dental Clinic, your oral hygiene is important to us.  Our General Dentists are here to ensure that your teeth stay healthy and remain cavity free, to ensure that you live life to its fullest, without any pain and discomfort.  If you’re experiencing any symptoms of a cavity, such as a toothache or pain while eating, please Contact Us on +971 4 397 9522 at any time to book a Consultation with one of our Dentists or click here.



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