When you last went to the dentist, did they tell you that you needed a filling? Were they pointing out the different cavities and immediately trying to get you to consent to work on each? This is common, but not always necessary. In fact, you may not need to get that dental filling at all.
One thing we hear from many of our new patients is that they are prone to cavities. They have been seeing other dentists that approached the problem through continuous dental work, and their mouths are full of enough silver to start their own bullion company as a result.
But the truth is, everyone is prone to cavities. An overabundance of sugar in our daily diet, soda consumption, acid reflux, and a number of other factors lead to tooth decay. Even the most dedicated oral hygiene enthusiast is likely to end up with a few.
Dental fillings, while helpful, often aren’t needed.
What Are Dental Fillings?
A dental filling is a liquid material that is injected into a tooth to fill gaps caused by tooth decay (also known as cavities). There are many different types of material, but one of the more common until recently was dental amalgam, a combination of silver, tin, copper, and low levels of mercury.
While considered safe by the FDA, there are some risks associated with dental amalgam. The mercury, while well under dangerous levels, can cause side effects in sensitive individuals. Heat and cold can cause the material to contract, damaging the tooth more over time.
At Riverside Dental we use composite fillings, a safer and more durable alternative.
Different Cavities, Different Solutions
Not all cavities need filling. Small ones, or those that aren’t posting any serious risk or causing pain, can usually be left alone. They may require filling in the future, but can be monitored over time to ascertain the best option. With lifestyle changes and certain oral hygiene products, erosion can be slowed.
What about those dentists who seem to fill every single cavity, big or small? Their reasons can vary. Some may be attempting to nip problems in the bud and take the extreme measure. Others may be trying to pad your bill and make a profit off of a relatively simple and quick procedure.
Do I Wait?
It isn’t always easy to know when you should get a filling and when you should wait. A good rule of thumb is to pay attention to signs of worsening decay. Pain in the tooth or the surrounding gum is one strong indicator of intervention being needed. So are signs of the gum receding, as the decay could be spreading
Speak to your dentist about whether they think a cavity can be left alone, or if a filling would be a benefit.
For more information on dental fillings, or to book an appointment with our friendly staff, call Riverside Dental today.