“I think I have a cavity. Now what do I do?” This is a question we hear frequently at our office, and one one we wanted to address in our blog entry today. In our last post, we told you about a few products you could purchase at your local supermarket to help prevent cavities. But if you think you may already have a cavity, don’t panic.
At the Antoine Dental Center in Houston, TX, we take your dental health and oral hygiene very seriously. We think of our patients as friends first, so we always want them to have a beautiful smile. Cavities are one of the most common health problems in America today.
Adults often think that only children or teenagers can get cavities. This could not be further from the truth. As you age, your gums tend to recede a bit, this increases both the surface area of your teeth as well as the amount of space in-between your teeth. The result of these actions include a heightened risk for tooth decay such as cavities.
So if you think you may have a cavity, don’t ignore the signals that your body is giving you. Instead, read on for some answers to commonly asked questions about cavities and dental fillings.
How Do I Know If I Have a Cavity?
You may have a cavity if you are experiencing a toothache. Sometimes these toothaches can be brought on by eating or drinking hot or cold foods. In addition, teeth with cavities are often sensitive to sweet foods. You may also want to examine the tooth in the mirror, and look for visible pits or holes.
Frequently with minor cavities, you may notice no symptoms at all. But untreated cavities can grow bigger, and decay can spread to other teeth. This can put you at risk for losing teeth.
The best way to know if you have a cavity is to come into our office for a routine dental exam. We’ll probe your teeth for soft spots, signs of decay, and oral diseases. We also take x-rays to check between and inside of your teeth for decay or other problems.
How is a Cavity Filled?
At the Antoine Dental Center in Houston, TX, we offer tooth-colored fillings. These fillings are made from a composite resin material, and are strong enough to allow you to continue biting and chewing for many years to come.
In addition, they are far more attractive looking than old-fashioned metal amalgam fillings. They are many shades available, so we can match the color of your existing teeth. They are also easy to shape, so we can match the grooves and ridges of a natural tooth.
The procedure for receiving a filling is relatively quick, and painless. We begin by numbing the treatment area to ensure you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. We then remove the decay from your affected tooth. The composite filling material is then put on your teeth, and carefully shaped. We then harden the filling material with a high intensity light, and match its appearance to your tooth’s.
Is Dental Sedation Available for Fillings?
Receiving a filling is a simple procedure. But if you are nervous about the procedure, we are glad to answer any questions you may have. We also offer Dental Sedation options to help relieve any anxiety you may be feeling.
Many of our patients with mild to moderate dental anxiety opt to undergo Nitrous Oxide Sedation before receiving a filling. You’ve probably heard Nitrous Oxide Sedation under its more common name of laughing gas.
With laughing gas, we supply you with a healthy and safe mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen into your nose. This helps you feel restful and relaxed; best of all it wears off right after the procedure!
If laughing gas sounds unappealing to you, we also offer Oral Sedation options. With Oral Sedation, we prescribe you a safe, mild sedative to take before your procedure. Oral Sedation will put you into a deeper feeling of relaxation than Nitrous Oxide Sedation, but takes longer to wear off as a result.
If you have extreme dental anxiety, you can enquire about IV Sedation. Under IV Sedation, you will not remember any of the procedure.
Make An Appointment
Whether you think you may have a cavity or not, the American Dental Association recommends visiting the dentist at least twice a year. When we detect tooth decay, or oral diseases such as Gum Disease, we provide you with a complete plan of your treatment options. Early detection can save you the cost and time of a lengthier procedure down the line. Click here to make an appointment with the Antoine Dental Center in Houston, TX.