When Do You Need Dental Fillings?

By on June 16, 2020
Dental fillings

Dental decay should never be taken lightly. It is a serious issue that if left untreated, it would pose a serious threat to dental hygiene and you could end up experiencing significant pain. This is where dental fillings come into place. They are used to help treat dental decay and allow you to achieve a perfect smile. If you are considering getting dental fillings and want to know more about them, you need to read on.

What Is Dental Decay?

To better understand why and when you need dental fillings, you need to first understand what dental decay is. In the simplest of words, it is a process where the sugary food starts to dissolve your teeth. When we eat food or drink something that contains sugars, it reacts with the bacteria in the plaque. It leads to a formation of acids that dissolve and soften the dentine and enamel of the tooth. Natural salts in the saliva eventually neutralize this acid but the acid can still attack the teeth for about an hour after you have eaten or drink anything containing sugar. A cavity will be created in the tooth over time by the sugar food. Dental decay can cause three different types of cavities as mentioned below.

1. Coronal Cavities

A coronal cavity is the most common type of cavity. It is located between your teeth on the chewing surface. Both children and adults experience coronal cavities.

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2. Root Cavities

As we grow older, our gums recede. It leaves many parts of the tooth roots exposed. In the absence of enamel to cover the tooth roots, the exposed roots are easily susceptible to dental decay.

3. Recurrent Decay

A recurrent decay tends to be located near crowns that have accumulated plaque build-up as well as existing fillings.

Consequences of Dental Decay

If dental decay is not treated, it would destroy the tooth and all the delicate nerves around the center. There is also a likelihood of the root tip and the area surrounding it to become infected. To make matters worse, if these parts get infected, the tooth would only be treated through surgery, root canal, or the removal of the tooth altogether. However, if you act early and the dental decay has not progressed, it can be easily removed by the dentist. Then, the tooth would be restored with a silver or white filling. The white filling is made of extremely durable white material, whereas, the silver filling is made of mercury. If the dental decay is caught early on, it can even be treated using a fluoride varnish alone as it would stop the tooth from experiencing further decay. Hence, it is always a good idea to regularly visit the dentist.

How Do You Know If You Require Dental Fillings?

When it comes to dental decay, it does not have many symptoms early on. This makes it difficult to know if you need dental fillings or any other treatment. But, if you experience the following, it is crucial that you visit your dentist. 

●      Tooth Sensitivity: When one of the teeth feels more sensitive while eating certain foods such as sour, stick or sweet foods, and foods of cold or hot temperatures.

●      Flossing String Tears: If the string tears every time you floss that particular tooth.

●      Previous Filling Experiences Damage: If you notice that a previous filling is missing, broken, or cracked, you would require a replacement.

●      A Fractured or Chipped Tooth: If the tooth has experienced any damage.

●      Food Gets Stuck Between Teeth: The food keeps getting stuck between or on certain teeth when you eat.

●      Dark Spots: When you feel or see dark spots in your tooth. If there is a hole in the tooth and your tooth feels rough. 

●      Sharp or Throbbing Pain: If you experience sharp pain in your tooth or a throbbing in the mouth when chewing food. 

Keep in mind that even if you do not experience any of the above symptoms, there is still a risk of dental decay.


Dental decay is more common than you think. It dissolves the teeth and creates cavities. If left unattended, it would cause serious dental hygiene issues and might even need surgery. Generally, to treat dental decay, tooth fillings are the best option. However, the dentist would determine if you require dental fillings. Since dental decay spreads very fast, it is important that you visit your dentist if you experience any of the mentioned symptoms. 

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When Do You Need Dental Fillings?