Fillings are needed when a tooth has a small or moderate amount of decay, called a cavity. Cavities are caused by a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque forms when we eat a lot of starches and sugars, and don’t brush them all off.
There are so many crevasses and angles to our teeth, brushing off every little bit of food residue is pretty hard to do! But then bacteria feeds on those starches and sugars, producing acids that erode your teeth, which create cavities.
Left unchecked, these cavity infections can bore deeper and deeper into the lower layers of your teeth. When cavities reach your dentin (the softer layer below our enamel), you might start feeling tooth sensitivity. This is because the dentin has tiny tubes that directly communicate with the nerves of the tooth.
Past the dentin, cavities can reach your pulp which is where the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels are.
Fillings are an effective way to restore a damaged tooth back to its original function and shape, as well as prevent future cavities. They are also used to repair damage from teeth grinding, as well as broken teeth.
Fillings are one of the most common procedures we perform in our office. In fact, most people need a filling at least once in their lifetime.
Luckily, Dr. Sutherland can easily check if you need a filling during your 6-month cleaning. She will use a small mirror to examine all the nooks and crannies of your teeth, check for sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, and then perform an x-ray to get a closer look.
The procedure is pretty simple. Here’s how it works:
In many cases, fillings can last for 10-15 years! Teeth grinding and clenching can lower that time, however.