Sometimes A Tooth Needs More Repair Than A Composite Filling

Sometimes A Tooth Needs More Repair Than A Composite Filling

When it comes to your teeth, prevention is always the best route. But sometimes, even if you take good care of your teeth, you can get a cavity. In these cases, fillings are great way to fix the problem and preserve your tooth.

The First Line of Defense: Fillings

Fillings are often the first procedure we go to for a cavity because they allow us to fix the cavity without having to remove any excess tooth material. If you need a filling, we will first remove the decayed portion of your tooth and then we will “fill” the area that was drilled away with porcelain, resin or amalgam. The position and condition of your tooth will help us decide which material is best for your filling. While composite fillings are often chosen because they can be matched to your natural tooth color precisely, they can chip or crack if placed on a posterior tooth that endures strong biting force. Then we cure the filling with a light to secure it.

When A Filling Isn’t Enough

Sometimes a cavity goes beyond the stage that a filling can be helpful. In these cases, the decay eats through the enamel and then moves on to penetrate the dentin layer or your tooth. Next is the pulp and roots of your tooth. When a cavity reaches this level, you will likely feel a significant amount of pain and sensitivity.


The next procedure usually considered after a filling is a crown. Not only are crowns more expensive and time consuming, they require much more of your natural tooth structure to be removed. Any quality dentist will tell you that the goal is to take great care of your teeth and preserve them in their natural state as much as possible!

For a crown, we will remove the diseased portion of your tooth and then take an impression of the tooth and surrounding teeth. Then a dental lab will make the prosthetic cap and we will place it and adjust accordingly.

Root Canals

Sometimes you may even need a root canal before you can receive your crown. According to The American Association of Endodontists, more than 15 million people each year get root canals — but this is not a group you want to be in! Root canals are known for being unpleasant, and even though we are skilled at making all of our treatments are comfortable and as pain-free as possible, it’s best to avoid them when possible.

Root canals are necessary when the tooth has become infected. In a root canal we will remove the infected pulp and then seal it before we proceed with the crown or another procedure.

Extraction and Dental Implants

When a tooth becomes so compromised that neither a filling or crown can solve the problem, an extraction or a dental implant may be necessary. Extraction will leave you without a tooth which has serious implications for your oral health. And while dental implants can be a wonderful, long-lasting solution, they aren’t cheap! In extreme cases with many cavities left untreated, the progression of decay can even lead to the need for a reconstruction.

The moral of the story is this: Don’t wait to take care of your cavities — fillings are your friend!

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