Fillings and Cavities

Dental Fillings and Cavities

A Cavity is a decay in the natural tooth. A cavity develops when a tooth decays and develops a hole that grows bigger and deeper over time. without Treatment, a small cavity can become more serious and lead to sever tooth decay, root damage and eventually tooth loss. One of the symptoms of a cavity is sensitivity to hot or cold and toothaches. Cavities are caused by poor dental hygiene or diet.

Treating a Cavity

The proper treatment of a cavity depends on the type of cavity you have. There are three types of cavities;

  • Coronal Cavities are the most common type of cavity. They occur in children and adults. Coronal cavities usually are located on chewing surfaces or between the teeth.
  • Root Cavities occur on the root of the tooth when part of the tooth's root is exposed.
  • Recurrent Decay is decay that forms around existing fillings and crowns.

In most cases where a cavity is present the most common treatment if caught in the early stages is to apply a filling to the cavity and save the tooth. A dental filling is a type of restorative treatment used to repair minimal tooth fractures and cavities, tooth decay or otherwise damaged surfaces on teeth.

There are different types of filling materials which include:

  • Composite
  • Porcelain
  • Silver Amalgam

Dental Fillings: The Procedure

During preventative dental hygiene checkups, or dental emergency visits prompted by a toothache, your Dr Murray will evaluate your teeth, gums and supporting bone structure. He identifies the number of teeth affected by decay or damage, and then prepares the tooth and necessary surrounding areas in order to restore the damaged area. The decay or damage is removed with a dental hand-piece or laser, and the area is cleansed to remove bacteria or debris before the restoration is completed.

The first step in performing a composite filling procedure involves isolation of the tooth. Tooth isolation is critical in a composite restoration, because it prevents moisture from interfering with the bonding process. The bonding procedure requires the placement of various adhesives followed by the composite material, which is then hardened with a special bonding light. The completed composite restoration is both functional and natural looking.

Dental Filling Costs

Composite fillings are usually more expensive than traditional amalgam fillings because they require a more sophisticated process, more expensive materials and additional office equipment. Composite materials offer an esthetic alternative to traditional amalgam materials. As such, people who have previously received amalgam fillings often return to their dentist to have them replaced with composite fillings.

The cost of dental fillings depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • The number of tooth surfaces that need filling. For example, one tooth may have only one surface affected by decay or damage, while another tooth may have one or all surfaces affected by decay or damage.
  • The type of filling material used in the procedure.
  • The type of dental insurance you have. As mentioned above, dental insurance typically does not cover the additional costs associated with composite fillings.

On average, amalgam fillings are expected to last approximately 12 years, while composite fillings are expected to last five to seven years. This of course is dependent on your unique considerations, the care with which you treat your oral hygiene and your commitment to continued dental visits.