Most people know what cavities are and may have even gotten one or two in their lifetime. But there’s a lot that they might not know. Here are five lesser-known facts about cavities and dental fillings.
First, what are cavities, exactly? Harmful bacteria live in the mouth. They feed off of food particles that are left behind after eating. As they do this, they release an acid that damages the teeth enamel. If the bacteria are not cleaned away with regular brushing and flossing, the acid can eventually create a cavity. Fillings are the go-to treatment for cavities because they repair the damaged enamel and fill in the parts of the tooth that were damaged by decay.
In the past, fillings consisted of a metal amalgam, usually made of silver or gold. While they were effective, they were very conspicuous (and unattractive) in the mouth. Now, with tooth-colored fillings, you can have your cavities treated without having it show.
Because cavities are caused by bacteria, leaving the problem untreated will only allow the bacteria to keep feeding and worsening the hole. Cavities will not go away on their own.
Located inside your tooth is the dental pulp, which contains the nerves and blood vessels. If the cavity worsens, it could eventually burrow through the tooth layers and reach this area. Not only will this be more painful than a cavity, but it could threaten the overall health of your tooth and a more invasive procedure called a root canal will become necessary.
The cavity could burrow into the tooth, or it could spread and get larger. If this is the case, there won’t be enough healthy enamel for a dental filling to bond with – it will simply fall out. This could leave the tooth in danger of fracturing. To prevent this, a dental crown will become necessary to hold the tooth together and seal it up.
Fillings last a long time, but they can fall out after a while. This is because, as the tooth is used regularly, the bond between the filling and enamel starts to weaken, causing the filling to become loose and possibly fall out. It will then need to be replaced.
If you suspect that you have a cavity, it’s important to contact Thorncliffe Dental as soon as possible to have it treated.