Do you have a toothache? Are you feeling a sharp pain when you eat or drink something cold or hot? Or, have you visited the dentist and simply been told that you have a cavity? No matter how you discovered the cavity news, we understand that it can be a shock. Cavities affect people of all ages, so even if you escaped cavities as a child, you could still get a cavity as an adult.
You may feel embarrassed, but you really shouldn’t. Unfortunately, cavities are quite common. According to the FDI World Dental Federation, “Globally, between 60–90% of schoolchildren and nearly 100% adults have tooth decay, often leading to pain and discomfort.”
Additionally, “Dental caries is the most common chronic disease in the world – due to exposure to sugar and other risks – and is a major global public health problem affecting individuals, health systems and economies.”
Why are cavities such an issue? First, people are consuming quite a bit of sugar. The American Dental Association explains, “When we eat or drink sugar, the bacteria in our mouths use it to live and make acid. This acid stays on our teeth and attacks the outer surface of our teeth. Over time, the acid wears down our teeth, causing a cavity.”
Second, older adults may develop cavities as a result of gum recession. As the gums move away from the teeth, it leaves the roots of the teeth exposed to plaque. This means adults can experience tooth-root decay.
Next, when left untreated, cavities can turn into infections – sometimes even deadly infections. Plus, they cause severe pain.
Basically, cavities happen, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore them. We need to do just the opposite and be proactive – especially when it comes to taking steps to prevent tooth decay in the first place.
To help you cope with your cavity news, our Houston dental team is telling you what to expect when the time comes.
What to Expect When You Go for a Filling
The first thing to expect is a caring dental team. At Greenspoint Dental in Houston, we know that dental anxiety is a real thing and just the idea of a cavity filling can make patients anxious. We do all we can to make you feel safe and comfortable.
Next, your dental team will talk to you about the procedure. They will explain what they will do and what you should expect.
Once the dentist is ready to get started, he or she will numb your teeth, gums, and surrounding areas to ease any discomfort during the procedure.
Once the area is numb, the dentist will use a small (not scary) drill to remove the decay from the tooth. Then, your dentist will fill the removed section with the filling.
Once it is over, your mouth will remain numb for a few hours. That’s it.
The Types of Fillings
You may be surprised to discover there are actually several different types of fillings. If you are an adult, you are likely more familiar with fillings of the past, which are made of metallic elements. The problem with these types of fillings is they are noticeable.
That’s why at Greenspoint Dental in Houston, we offer dental patient’s composite fillings. Crest explains, “Sometimes referred to as composites or filled resins, these fillings feature a combination of glass or quartz filler and can be made to match the color of your tooth.” These fillings are much less noticeable and are stronger and last longer than fillings of the past.
The Different Treatment Options
It’s normal to be a little afraid to get a cavity filled, but we do our best to ease our patient’s fears. For example, we offer different treatment options to make you comfortable. In addition to providing anxiety-reducing music and soft, warm blankets, we provide different treatments to meet your needs.
Many patients need nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing as, for a cavity procedure. The American Dental Association explains, “Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose to help you relax.” Basically, it takes the edge off but doesn’t put you to sleep.
However, some patients require Novocaine or even full sedation dentistry for the procedure. If you have extreme fears and anxiety about your dental treatment, then sedation dentistry or relaxation dentistry is a good option. We do what we can to make sure our patients feel safe and comfortable.
How Technology Has Made Fillings Less Frightening
In addition to the different treatment options meant to ease some of your anxiety about the cavity procedure, we have also invested in new technology that makes getting fillings even less frightening. We use an electric handpiece that does not make the scary, annoying drill noise like those of the past. Plus, it is much faster, so you can get the procedure done and over in less time.
Why You Should Have Sealant Applied
When you get your cavity filled, this is also a good time to get sealants applied. Essentially, sealants act as a seal and protect teeth from decay. Sealants can protect your teeth for up to ten years – especially when combined with brushing and flossing. It is a quick and easy procedure that makes a big difference.
How to Prevent Future Tooth Decay
In addition to having sealants applied, it is critical to take care of your teeth. You can prevent future cavities by brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing daily, and eating tooth-healthy foods.
Visit Greenspoint Dental in Houston for Early Cavity Detection
Last but not least, the final key to cavity prevention is to visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. Moreover, at Greenspoint Dental in Houston, we use a special fluorescent laser called a Diagnodent to catch even the earliest signs of cavities. As a result, our patients can begin home treatments and avoid fillings.