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Fillings: Your First Line of Defense Against Tooth Decay

When you think about the years of chewing, biting, tearing, and grinding over the course of your lifetime, it’s no surprise that 178 million Americans have lost at least one of their teeth, and 40 million have no teeth left at all. Tooth decay is one of the main reasons for all those missing teeth, but they could have been saved if only the problem had been caught early. 

At Brite Dental Spa in New York, New York, we save countless teeth from decay by treating cavities and other minor breaches with dental fillings. Whether or not you feel any pain or discomfort, you may have a cavity that’s only detectable by X-ray. That’s why regular dental exams are critical to your oral health. If we do find a cavity, a filling is the best way to keep decay at bay. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a cavity?

The hard outer shell of your teeth, called enamel, is the part that makes your teeth look bright, white, and shiny. It’s also the part that protects the inside of your teeth from harmful bacteria.

When you eat sugary and starchy foods, they tend to linger on the surface of and in all the tight spaces and crevices between your teeth. If you don’t clean your teeth well, the natural bacteria in your mouth feast on those starches and sugars and form a sticky film called plaque.

When plaque sticks around for a while, it turns into its harder cousin, tartar. If left on the surface of your teeth, the acids in the tartar begin to eat through your enamel and cause holes called carries, but you know them better as cavities. 

At first, you might not notice any symptoms at all, but if left untreated, you can expect sensitivity to hot and cold beverages, a toothache, even a visible hole. 

What happens when you don’t fill a cavity?

If you ignore your cavity, it gets bigger and the decay becomes more severe. In addition to the advancing decay, you may experience other complications, including:

To avoid these serious eventualities, we treat the cavity as soon as possible with a filling.

The benefits of fillings

The primary goal of fillings is to stop the progression of decay. Here’s how it works.

We use a very small drill to clear out the decay that has entered your tooth and taken hold. Once that’s gone, we fill it with a material made of porcelain or a composite that matches your natural tooth color. The filling occupies the space where the decay has damaged your tooth and protects your tooth’s dentin and inner pulp from further destruction. The added benefits of fillings include:

Fillings can also repair minor damage caused by habits such as grinding your teeth, biting your nails, or using your teeth as a tool to open or tear packages. 

If you suspect you have a cavity, or you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, do yourself, and your mouth, a favor — contact us by phone or online at Brite Dental Spa today and set up an appointment for a check-up with our team of caring, expert dentists, and catch any cavities before they cause serious damage.

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