How to tell if it’s a cavity

Typically a damaged tooth is a result of decay or injury. Dental fillings are used to restore the lost structure of the tooth. Cavities develop in various ways including:

  • Caused by sugar and bacteria forming acids that destroy the enamel and dentine. If the tooth goes untreated, cavities can cause other dental issues such as pain, infection, and in some cases, abscesses.
  • Loss of enamel because of too much wear and tear which causes sensitivity.
  • Fractures induced by trauma.
  • Cracks in the tooth due to weak structure and heavy biting or grinding.
  • Breaking or losing a filling.


How to tell if you have a cavity:

  • Sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure
  • A toothache
  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Torn floss that keeps tearing in a particular gap
  • Rough tooth surface

Cavities usually start without symptoms or pain which is why it is so important to go to the dentist for routine check-ups.

Fillings prevent further tooth decay and repair the function and structure of the tooth. The 5 different types of materials used to make fillings are:

  • Amalgam (maybe not used anymore as mercury leakage has been shown)
  • Composite resins that are tooth-colored fillings
  • Ionomers – also tooth-colored fillings that secrete fluoride
  • Gold
  • Ceramic/porcelain fillings – custom-made for more substantial fillings that need to cover the external part of the tooth.

Your dentist will recommend the best filling that suits your preference and budget

There are usually four stages when placing a filling:

  • Anesthetic – numbing the area to lessen the discomfort during the procedure
  • Preparing the tooth by eliminating any decay, caries, old fillings or re-shaping the damaged tooth. The tooth is cleaned and then dried.
  • The chosen material is placed to fill the cavity.
  • Adjustments are made to the filling to ensure the correct bite, and polish is applied to smooth the surface.

The anesthesia wears off in a couple of hours. It’s best to avoid hot food and drinks to prevent burning your mouth or accidentally biting your cheek or tongue while it is numb. Sometimes you may experience transient sensitivity, especially when the cavity is deep and close to the nerve. This sensitivity typically decreases and settles. If you experience significant discomfort, do not hesitate to contact your dentist.


Dentists try everything in their power to save your natural teeth. However, sometimes tooth extraction is the only option available to help a patient with a toothache, infection, or more severe problems. For more information on tooth replacement options call Implantation Dental Center today at 954-476-0770.

(954) 476-0770