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What You May Not Know About Fillings

fillings cavities chapel hill nc

Cavities are the most common ailment second only to the common cold, so if it feels like you’re always needing another filling, you’re not alone. There are several ways you can prevent cavities and limit their effects on your oral health. Learn more about cavities and fillings with Tarheel Family Dentistry in Chapel Hill, NC.

Why Do You Need Fillings?

Dentists use fillings to treat cavities. A cavity is a hole in the tooth created by the bacteria that are always present in our mouths, which create acids that wear down enamel. Cavities need to be treated because they expose the sensitive tissues inside the teeth to infection. Dentists remove the infected tissue and fill cavities to seal in the tooth.

How Do You Recognize Decay?

  • Dark spots or greyish black areas on your front teeth
  • Chipped off areas that your tongue often goes into
  • Holes where food gets stuck

If you see or are experiencing any of the above, it may be time to see your dentist. You can also sometimes feel cavities:

  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold things
  • Dull or sharp pain in the mouth that does not go away on its own
  • Tingling or electric sensation when eating particularly sweet food

What Are Fillings Made Of?

The most widely used substance is a kind of tooth-colored plastic composite that is soft when applied but hardens while chemically bonding to your teeth when cured with a UV light.

What Should I Expect After A Filling?

A composite filling hardened with a UV light does not require any down time, so you can return to your daily activities immediately after your appointment. Your tooth is as good as new and the filling will be invisible. Some patients experience some mild sensitivity in the filled tooth, which normally subsides after 48 hours, but you can return to eating, drinking, and speaking normally right after treatment.

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

Your at-home oral hygiene regimen ultimately plays a large part in preventing cavities. Dentists can perform preventive measures such as sealants or fluoride treatments, but your oral hygiene will determine whether you get cavities. Brushing twice a day and flossing every day are the keys to preventing cavities and tooth decay.

How Long Will My Filling Last?

Fillings may not last forever. Keeping regular appointments with your dentist and annual X-rays will help you and your dentist maintain the health of your filling. If you see any darkening or chipping under the filling, schedule an appointment with your dentist to avoid the filling coming out and subjecting your teeth to further decay.

Visit Tarheel Family Dentistry in Charlotte, NC to stay on top of your oral health. Schedule an appointment online today or call our office at (919) 551-8847.