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Why You May Need a Dental Filling Without Knowing It

Why You May Need a Dental Filling Without Knowing It

You don’t get stitches unless you have a laceration, and you don’t get a cast unless you have a broken bone. The same holds true in dental work: you don’t get a filling unless you have a cavity. 

The difference is that with lacerations and broken bones, you see and feel the damage, so the treatment is a no-brainer. With cavities, there’s an early phase that’s asymptomatic, so even if you feel fine, your tooth is anything but.

Our team of experts at Brite Dental Spa in New York, New York, understands your hesitation to treat a problem you can’t see or feel, which is why we’re taking the time to talk about the reasons we recommend fillings and how they can save your oral health.

Cavities are progressive problems

When most people think of dental cavities, they visualize a hole in a tooth. While that may be true in some cases, it’s not entirely accurate.

The technical term for a cavity is dental carie, and the definition is “tooth decay,” not “hole.” Tooth decay occurs in stages and progresses gradually. In the earliest stages, you may not see or feel any symptoms.

A cavity begins when something damages or breaches the hard outer enamel of your tooth and allows bacteria to enter. This could be caused by plaque build-up that deteriorates the enamel or a cracked or chipped tooth. In many cases, these invasions are only detectable through X-ray technology. 

When the cavity is still confined to the enamel, we can restore its health and structural integrity with a filling that matches the color of your tooth so you won’t even know it’s there.

Why you should never ignore a cavity

There are several different types of cavities, and one, in particular, defies the typical progression of its cousins. Arrested caries reach a certain point of decay, then suddenly become inactive. They show up as shiny whites spots on your tooth enamel, although in some people they look brown or gray. Arrested caries typically don’t require fillings. 

However, the majority of untreated cavities never get better; they only get worse. If you have a breach in your enamel, it won’t heal on its own over time, but instead, the decay continues to “eat” its way through each layer of your tooth: first, the enamel, followed by the dentin, cementum, pulp, root, and jawbone.

In addition to pain and sensitivity, symptoms of a progressing cavity include loosening of the tooth, inflamed gums, and jaw pain. 

Dental fillings not only stop the progression of the decay, they also prevent subsequent related problems, such as:

Getting a cavity now, while the cavity is still small and asymptomatic, also saves you time and money. Treatments become more painful and expensive as tooth decay progresses, and you may end up needing:

The only way to know for sure if you have an early cavity or not is to get regular checkups. To find out if your teeth are as healthy as you think they are, schedule an appointment at Brite Dental Spa for a full check-up. We can let you know if you have any budding cavities that might need a filling, or if you’re good to go for another six months. 

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