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What can I do about a cavity?

Dental caries, more commonly known as cavities, are the single most common dental issue in America. Most citizens have had at least 1 by the time they reach adulthood. Fortunately, they are simple enough to treat and possibly even easier to prevent. A dental filling can treat cavities easily within an hour-long appointment. By visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and exams every 6 months, we can help you prevent cavities altogether.

McFarland Dental Fillings

Did you know…

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Cavities don’t usually hurt. Toothaches are more commonly a symptom of a tooth infection.

Ready to schedule your appointment? 

call (608) 716-8622

How it works: The dental filling treatment process

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Local Anesthesia

First, your mouth will be numbed using local anesthesia. Your dentist will apply a numbing agent to help numb your gums to minimize discomfort when the dentist delivers the follow-up injection.

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Removal Of Decay

Next, your dentist will use a dental drill to remove decayed enamel and damaged material from your tooth. Then, the tooth will be cleaned and disinfected to prepare it for your filling.

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Filling The Tooth

Your dentist will fill your tooth and restore its structure with a tooth-compatible material like dental resin. Once the tooth has been filled, the filling will be trimmed and adjusted to ensure that it matches your natural bite and feels comfortable.

Types of dental fillings

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Composite “Tooth-Colored” Fillings

Tooth-colored dental fillings are an ideal way to fill cavities because they can be matched to the color of your teeth and are very strong and durable. Because the front teeth are so visible, composite fillings were originally used most often for anterior teeth fillings, but they have since become the standard filling option for most cavities. 

We advocate for the replacement of amalgam fillings due to the increased risk of tooth fracture over years of mental expansion and contraction inside the tooth.

With a tooth-colored filling, your smile will look and feel completely natural. Your new filling should last about 10 years with proper care, such as regular brushing and flossing, and regular teeth cleanings and oral exams every 6 months.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

Glass ionomer fillings are a great alternative filling material that can be used for people who have very high cavity rates or cavities that effect the root surfaces of their teeth. This material has the unique ability to not only fill the cavity, but to strengthen the mineral content of the tooth next to it through the sustained release of minerals over time.

The primary use for these fillings is in the geriatric population and others who struggle with root surface cavities.

Did you know…

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There are more than 3 million cases of cavities in the US every year.

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Have questions about cavities and fillings? Find answers here.

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What are signs that I might have a cavity?

Most small and medium sized cavities won't cause you any pain or discomfort. In some cases, you may develop a toothache, but this depends on the severity of your cavity. Typical symptoms include tooth sensitivity to heat and cold, and sensitivity to particularly sugary foods and beverages. Your tooth may also hurt or feel sensitive when you chew or bite down on that side. 

You may be able to see a cavity with your naked eye. If you look at your tooth and see small holes, pitting, or black/brown stains, it’s possible that it’s a cavity.

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My tooth doesn’t hurt. Why do I need a filling? 

By the time your tooth hurts, it may be too late to have it filled. Toothaches usually don’t occur until your tooth has become infected. This happens when an untreated cavity or an oral injury exposes the vulnerable nerve that lives inside the tooth.

If you do end up with an infected tooth, we won’t be able to treat it with just a filling. You will likely need a root canal and either a dental filling or dental crown to seal your tooth and prevent further damage.

Seeing your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and an exam will help you prevent cavities altogether. These regular visits will also help your doctor find the issues when they’re still small and relatively easy to treat. 

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Are dental fillings painful?

Not at all. The process of getting a dental filling is completely painless. Your mouth will be numbed before treatment begins and will stay numbed throughout the procedure. Getting a filling is a fast process, too. You can have your tooth filled in as little as 30-60 minutes. If you’re nervous at the dentist’s office, you can choose to be sedated during your procedure to ensure that you feel comfortable and safe throughout the process. If you have questions about sedation options or the numbing process, please give us a call and ask about your options for sedation during your treatment. 

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How do fillings protect my teeth?

A filling protects your teeth by eliminating decay and then sealing the tooth with a protective filling that maintains its structure and integrity. During the filling process, all the decayed enamel will be removed by your dentist. The cavity is then filled with a tooth-colored filling material such as dental resin.

By removing the decayed enamel and the bacteria that’s causing the decay, your dentist will halt the progression of the cavity, preventing it from getting larger and potentially causing a tooth infection. The filling helps protect the underlying tooth structure, and ensures that your tooth remains strong. 

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What if my cavity is too deep or too large?

During your exam, your dentist will check your tooth and x-rays to determine whether or not a filling is right for you. If you have a very deep or large cavity, a filling may not be the appropriate treatment to strengthen and restore your tooth.

In these cases, your dentist may recommend an alternative treatment, like a dental inlay or onlay, or a dental crown. These treatments are more effective at protecting and restoring teeth that have been severely damaged by decay, and will provide better results.

Did you know…

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Nearly 80% of Americans have had at least one cavity before the age of 18.

Ready for your next dental appointment?

call (608) 716-8622