Fillings are one of the most common dental procedures performed – so what are they? Over time, the enamel on the surface of your tooth can wear down from the presence of acids in your mouth from bacteria processing the food. This breakdown from bacteria acid production is what we know as decay creating a cavity, or small defect in the enamel. If the breakdown of this enamel extends to the softer part of the tooth, it becomes important to remove this cavity and replace with a filling to keep the tooth healthy and avoid any additional decay or disease on your tooth.
To diagnose a cavity, your dentist will visually inspect the tooth for any discrepancies or soft areas in the surface of the enamel and may also take an x-ray to determine how far the decay has progressed. If a filling is recommended, your dentist will then numb the area to ensure that the procedure is comfortable and pain-free. Next, your dentist will remove the decay from your tooth and replace the decayed area with a tooth-colored composite.
Dental fillings are a quick process that is important for preventing further decay of a tooth. While different materials have been used in the past to complete the filling, composite materials are now the standard of care, which are highly durable and moldable.