What Are Fillings?
Tooth fillings: Perhaps you have heard about them or maybe even needed one or more at some point in time. While Dr. Hannah Ahn finds patients know needing a filling means tooth decay is present, she finds many patients do not know exactly what occurs during a filling and how she determines if one is necessary.
Finding a Cavity
While bacteria naturally live on your teeth, some are more harmful than others, eating away at the protective tooth enamel on the outside of your teeth and infiltrating into the tooth's inner portions. When there is an area of weakness that starts to grow over time or darken on an X-ray, these are indicators a cavity is taking hold. Cavities are decayed areas of the tooth that can easily spread, weakening the tooth and making it vulnerable to infection. Cavities may sometimes cause symptoms, such as pain or increased sensitivity to hot and cold, or they may occur without you ever knowing.
At one of your two six-month dental visits, Dr. Hannah Ahn will take an X-ray of your teeth. This allows her to identify possible areas where cavities occur. She can compare these X-rays to previous ones to determine if the cavity appears to be growing in size. Depending upon the cavity's location and its size, she may recommend a filling.
Imagine you have a hole in your wall, and you'd like to patch it up. You would use a putty that is first soft and moldable, then hardens to look like the rest of the wall and keep the wall strong. The same principles apply when it comes to filling a cavity. To strengthen your tooth, Dr. Hannah Ahn drills into the tooth to access the diseased or damaged portion and cleans the area, removing debris and ideally any bacteria that may linger. She then applies a tooth-colored material to the tooth to strengthen it. This is often applied in layers, much like the caulk that goes into filling a hole. She uses a special light to cure or harden the material, making it as much a part of your tooth as possible.
Fillings can be an excellent way to prevent further, more invasive, dental work. However, the ideal option is to avoid getting them in the first place through careful dental care. While fillings are an effective method for stopping tooth decay, they also make the tooth more vulnerable to damage and have a lifespan of anywhere from 5 to 15 years. This is why visiting our Wesport, CT pediatric dental office on a regular basis is so important because it aids in the prevention of harmful cavities and reduces the need for fillings.
For more information on services Dr. Hannah Ahn offers,
including pediatric fillings, please call our office at (203) 277-3709.