To treat a cavity a dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then "fill" the area on the tooth where the decayed material once lived. Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as fromnail-biting or tooth grinding).
First, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth to be worked on with a local anesthetic. Next, a drill, air abrasion instrument or laser will be used to remove the decayed area. Next, your dentist will probe or test the area during the decay removal process to determine if all the decay has been removed. Once the decay has been removed, your dentist will prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris. Generally, after the filling is in, your dentist will finish and polish it.
Today, several dental filling materials are available. Teeth can be filled with gold; porcelain; silver amalgam or tooth-colored, plastic and glass materials called composite resin fillings. Talk to our dentist about the best options for you and see what can be done.