5 Reasons Why Tooth Fillings are the Best Option
Sometimes even the most diligent oral hygiene routines won’t guarantee that we’ll never experience tooth decay. When cavities do pop up unexpectedly, the best option is usually small, minimally-invasive tooth fillings. At Cassell Dentistry, we believe that fillings can often be the best method of preserving your natural teeth and preventing decay from spreading elsewhere.
What is Cavity Filling and Why is it Necessary?
Dental fillings are a routine dental procedure that involves removing the decayed portions of your tooth and filling the resulting space with a special material. In most cases, a filling is usually made of tooth-colored composite resin or amalgam, which is a mixture of metals such as silver, tin, and copper. Fillings help restore the tooth’s structure, prevent further decay, and ensure proper function and comfort when you’re biting or chewing.
Why is filling necessary? Because when it’s left untreated, tooth decay can spread, causing more extensive damage and pain. Eventually, it can lead to tooth loss or the need for more invasive procedures such as root canals or dental crowns. Filling cavities at an early stage helps prevent these complications, limits your risk of tooth loss, and reduces the cost and discomfort of more extensive treatments.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
To understand the importance of tooth fillings, it’s essential to know what causes tooth decay to begin with. Cavities are a bacterial infection that affects the enamel (the outer layer of the tooth) and the underlying dentin (the layer beneath the enamel). The decay process starts with plaque, a sticky film of bacteria and sugars that forms on the teeth. When plaque is not removed regularly, it produces acids which then attack the enamel and create tiny holes, or cavities. If left untreated, the decay can progress to the dentin and eventually reach the pulp, which is made up of nerves and blood vessels. This can cause severe pain, infection, and even abscesses.
Reasons Dental Fillings are a Great Choice
Dr. Cassell recommends dental filling for several reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons that our patients opt for dental fillings if they’re exhibiting signs of tooth decay:
- It’s a Quick and Simple Procedure
Having a small cavity filled is one of the most straightforward dental procedures we offer, taking only about 30-60 minutes to complete, depending on the size and location of the cavity. Your procedure can usually be completed with local anesthesia (numbing medication,) and you can return to your regular daily routine after the treatment.
- They’re a Cheaper Way to Get Rid of Painful Dental Problems
Filling a cavity is much more affordable than other complex procedures that may be required if the decay goes untreated. For example, root canals, crowns, or extractions can cost significantly more than a filling, and they may require multiple appointments. By filling a cavity early on, you can save money, preserve your natural tooth, and avoid more extensive treatments.
- They Can Prevent Your Tooth from Falling Out
One of the significant benefits of tooth fillings is that they preserve your natural teeth. A filling removes only the decayed portion of the tooth, leaving the healthy structure intact. Unlike extractions, which remove the entire tooth, filling allows you to keep your natural tooth, which is essential for proper chewing, speech, and overall oral health.
- They’re a Durable Solution
Today’s modern tooth fillings are durable and can last for several years with proper care. Composite resin fillings can last up to ten or more years, while amalgam fillings can sometimes last longer than that. By maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding hard or sticky foods, and visiting our dentist regularly for check-ups, you can extend the life of your fillings and delay the need for replacement.
- It Restores Your Smile and Confidence
Finally, small tooth fillings restore your smile and confidence. When a cavity affects a visible tooth, it can make you feel self-conscious and worried about what other people see. With today’s tooth-colored fillings, no one will ever notice.
Call to Schedule Your Visit
Whether it’s time for your regular checkup or you suspect you may need a dental filling, our San Diego dental team is ready to help. Call us to schedule your next checkup!