When caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. Fillings are done to remove decay, and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because a material is placed in the tooth that fills the hole after decay is removed. Today, most teeth are treated with bonded tooth-colored composite resin fillings.
If not treated, decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth may need root canal treatment or extraction. If a filling becomes exceedingly large, a crown may be recommended to reinforce the tooth and prevent fracture of the tooth or the large filling which can result in the loss of the tooth. Click for more information on crowns.
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay, alter the shape of the tooth, eliminate “black triangles” near the gums, or close gaps between the teeth.
Sealants are a great option for preserving oral health. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits that accumulate plaque and food—not because the person doesn’t brush, but because they’re too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. A very runny filling material is used to fill in those narrow grooves in the tooth, protecting these areas from developing cavities in the future. Sealants are almost always able to be placed without any numbing or discomfort. They are often recommended for children, but can be a good option for adults as well!