Can Dental Fillings Treat Tooth Decay?

Posted on: February 24, 2022

Dental Fillings Spokane, WA

Dental fillings play a vital role in treating tooth decay. If tooth decay has progressed beyond its earliest stage, a filling will help restore the tooth to its former, healthy state.

The causes of tooth decay

Tooth decay is damage caused by bacteria, which, when combined with food, causes plaque. Over time, the bacteria in the plaque form acids, which start to eat away at your tooth. There are a few things that accelerate this process:

  • Eating an abundance of sugary foods
  • Not practicing good dental hygiene at home
  • Not visiting the dentist for regular checkups

How to prevent tooth decay

To prevent tooth decay from ever starting, brush regularly with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, eat healthy foods, visit the dentist regularly, and follow any specific directions he may provide.

If prevention steps are not followed and decay continues, it will progress through five stages. First, the tooth starts to lose minerals due to plaque build-up, creating a white spot. Next, enamel begins to decay, which usually produces a small brown spot. Things start to speed up after the second stage.

During the third stage, dentin decay occurs. Dentin lies underneath the enamel, and, at this point, significant sensitivity or pain may begin. The fourth and fifth stages are the most advanced stages of tooth decay. The decay starts to enter the pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves. Lastly, bacteria can grow and cause a dangerous and severely painful abscess if the decay isn't addressed. 

If the decay is caught during the first stage, a filling is sometimes not required. The condition will usually begin to reverse itself with good dental hygiene and a fluoride treatment or sealant. However, if the demineralized spot is not addressed, the decay will advance to stages two and three. During these stages, a dental filling is the primary treatment option for tooth decay. (Side note: Stages four and five typically require a root canal or a more invasive procedure.)

The dental filling procedure

When a patient comes in for a dental filling, the dentist begins by removing all the decay from the tooth. After he's finished preparing the tooth, he will insert the filling. Fillings are usually made of porcelain, dental amalgam, composite resins, or other medically safe material. The patient will not feel any pain, as the dentist numbs the area before beginning the procedure.

Getting a filling usually takes 15 minutes to one hour, depending on the size and location of the cavity. Tooth sensitivity usually subsides within a day, and the tooth is restored to normal.

The bottom line in dental fillings

The main goal of a dental filling is to ensure more damage is not done to the tooth. The filling, or restoration, is sometimes necessary to prevent tooth decay from progressing. If decay is caught in the second or third stages, a dental filling is the main treatment option. After receiving the filling, the tooth will be restored to its healthy condition.

Request an appointment here: https://brookemcloningerdds.com or call Brooke M. Cloninger, D.D.S. at (509) 319-2152 for an appointment in our Spokane office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Dental Fillings in Spokane, WA.


Related Posts

October 6, 2021

4 Dental Filling Options

A dental filling is a restorative procedure that is typically offered by a general dentist. Fillings are done in order to restore teeth that are damaged from injuries or cavities. When dental …

September 25, 2019

4 Popular Treatments Used in Cosmetic Dentistry

Looking for more information on your cosmetic dentistry choices? When you are not completely satisfied with the way you look when you smile, then understand that there are many different cosmetic options for you to …

June 9, 2021

Missing Teeth Replacement Options from a Cosmetic Dentist

Looking for a cosmetic dentist to address your missing teeth problem? Smart. Even when someone is missing just one of their teeth, their overall oral health is no longer in good shape. …

July 17, 2020

Popular Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures for White Teeth

There are a handful of cosmetic dentistry procedures that can be used to improve the color of a person's teeth. Most people would love to have pearly white teeth, but that is easier said than …