Why Are Dental Fillings Necessary?

Posted on Mar 15 2016 - 9:12am by Editorial Staff

Dental Checkup

A dental filling is used to restore a damaged tooth from decay (cavities).The decay can be caused from an overabundance of bacteria, plaque and tartar. These cause a breakdown of tissue and enamel on the teeth by the acid, which also can cause gingivitis and periodontitis. It is highly important that you control and limit plaque and tartar build up for overall oral hygiene. 

Who Get Cavities

Cavities are most common among children, because they do not have a well-groomed oral hygiene program as most adults do. However, the older we get as adults the more our teeth change and the more sensitive they become. This means it is harder to prevent cavities at an older age. In fact, as we reach the age of 50 our gum lines start to recede a bit causing sensitivity and tooth-root decay. This makes cavities a more sensitive issue.

Symptoms of a Cavity

Most of the time you will not even know that you have a cavity. Cavities are generally small enough that they only affect the enamel on the top of your teeth. However, sometimes they are severe enough to hit the nerve. If they are this deep and this severe, you will have some symptoms. These include sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks and sensitivity to chewing. If a cavity is this severe, you will need to have a root canal performed. It is important that you have twice a year checkups to catch cavities in the early stages of development.

How Are Cavities Filled

Treating cavities involves two phases: (1) remove the entire decayed tooth and (2) filling the leftover tooth. Typically, a dental drill is used to remove the decay and then the tooth is filled in and reshaped to prevent further decay.

The filling material can be gold, porcelain, resin, etc. More often porcelain is used because of its color and durability. However, a lot of older folks have gold, because that is what was used several years ago.

If the damage is too much or the filling cannot be filled because it is too large, a crown or bridge may be used. Also, if the damage is too severe and has reached a nerve, a root canal may need to be performed so that the damaged nerve tissue is removed. Sometimes pulp capping can be performed in an attempt to save the damaged nerve, but not often.

How to Prevent Cavities and Fillings

The best thing you can do to help prevent the possibility of getting cavities and needing a filling is a to implement a well-managed oral hygiene program. For starters, brush your teeth at least twice a day, right when you get up and before you go to bed. If you can brush after meals that is even better. Floss your teeth on a daily basis to clean in between your teeth. Flossing helps get the hard to reach places and the places that you cannot get with a tooth brush.

It is important that you maintain a well-balanced diet with the most nutrient based foods and limit sugary snacks. You may even use fluoride on a regular basis to strengthen the enamel on your teeth and of course always go to your regular checkups with your hygienist.You should have two deep cleanings a year.


In conclusion, fillings are necessary to repair damaged enamel and/or nerves because of tooth decay and gum disease. The procedure of filing a cavity is generally a relatively easy process, but crowns, bridges and root canals are a bit more invasive. With that said, it is important that you main your oral hygiene and do what you can to keep your teeth healthy. General Dentist – Dr. Grisel Martos D.M.D will help ensure you are following a good hygiene plan and provide you with a wonderful hygienist to treat you every six months for a deep cleaning and cavity scan.

Photo Credit: Photo by jarmoluk, CC0 1.0

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Editorial Staff at I2Mag is a team of subject experts.