When you have a cavity, it’s important to treat it as early as possible. Waiting too long allows the decay to expand into the tooth’s nerve or adjacent teeth. What can be repaired with a small filling today could eventually require something more complex like a root canal and crown.
At EZE Dental, we screen for cavities during every checkup. Between a visual exam and diagnostic digital X-rays, decay can be caught in the earliest stages for smaller and less-invasive treatment.
Advantage of White Fillings
Dr. George Okoro uses composite (white) fillings instead of traditional metal restorations. Composite is gentler on teeth and less invasive to enamel, as it bonds directly to your porous tooth surface. This characteristic makes it easier to apply on teeth throughout the mouth. But it also ensures that the least amount of tooth structure is altered. In contrast, metal fillings require cutting wedges into the healthy tooth structure to anchor them in place.
The various shades of dental composite make these fillings easy to place without other people seeing them. The final restoration will blend in with the color of your natural smile. Just keep in mind that if you choose to whiten your teeth, your restoration will need to be updated to match the brighter shade of your enamel. Avoid smoking and red wine, as the stain can accumulate along the edges of your filling and cause it to stand out.
What to Expect During Treatment
Placing a composite filling requires one appointment and can be completed in less than an hour in most cases. Dr. Okoro will numb your tooth and then clean out the decay. Next, we’ll gently prep the inside lining of the opening, so that the composite can create a seal with the micropores in your tooth. After we select the best shade of composite, Dr. Okoro will shape it into the open space to build it back out to the natural shape. Finally, a bright light is applied to the filling to permanently cure it in place.
Following your appointment, you’ll want to wait a few hours to eat anything, until the local anesthetic wears off. Some tenderness at the injection site is normal, but an over-the-counter pain reliever is usually adequate for managing short-term symptoms.
Dental fillings are appropriate for small to medium cavities. However, if a significant portion of your tooth is compromised, you may need a crown instead. Fillings set inside of stable tooth structure. If only a small amount remains, normal biting and chewing pressure could cause the weakened tooth to break apart. Crowns cover the entire tooth to distribute biting forces during everyday wear.
When possible, we prefer to use minimally-invasive, conservative fillings. But there will always be scenarios where a filling is not appropriate. Dr. Okoro will present your options and weigh the advantages of each one so that you can make an educated choice about your smile’s true needs.
Cavities are bacterial infections that, unless treated, will continue to expand. While most people feel that pain and tooth decay go hand in hand, many cavities never cause discomfort.
Common cavity symptoms can include
- Pain when eating or drinking something sweet
- Pressure sensitivity
- Food getting caught between teeth
- Your floss catching or shredding in a specific area
- Rough edges you can feel with your tongue
- Visible tooth discoloration
Not everyone will experience the same symptoms if they have a cavity. It’s fairly common for subtle signs like something feeling “off” to be the only thing you notice.
Scheduling regular checkups will help to ensure that we can intercept tooth decay as early as possible. If you haven’t seen a dentist in a while and are experiencing symptoms of cavities, contact us at your earliest opportunity. We’ll schedule you for an exam and set of diagnostic X-rays to screen for decay in spaces that aren’t visible to the naked eye. If a cavity is present, Dr. Okoro will discuss his findings with you and present the best options for repairing the lesion.
Your care plan will include all pricing, expected insurance coverage and appointments involved. When possible we will present alternative therapies for you to consider. You play an active role in co-planning the best care for your smile’s needs.
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For cosmetic, white dental fillings contact our Largo dental office.
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