During every check and clean, we thoroughly evaluate each tooth for signs of pain or dental decay. In addition to a visual exam, we use digital X-rays or other tests to diagnose early stages of cavities.
By intercepting tooth decay early, we can minimise the need for extensive dental treatments and preserve as much healthy tooth structure as possible.
How do I know if I’m suffering from dental decay?
How can you know if you have a cavity? Some of the most common symptoms to watch for include:
- Sensitivity to certain foods
- A rough or sharp edge on a tooth
- Pain when biting down and eating
- Discoloration (brown or black areas)
- Food catching in teeth
- Niggling feeling or “little shocks”
With tooth decay, early diagnosis is key. We want to intercept the cavity while it’s still in the outer layers of tooth structure and before it reaches the nerve. Otherwise the tooth could die or an abscess might develop, at which point a root canal may be necessary (and we are all about prevention here).
Filling cavities while they’re as small as possible also prevents the need for a larger or stronger restoration, like a crown.
Although sensitivity or tooth pain do occasionally indicate a cavity, having an asymptomatic tooth does not mean there is an absence of decay. It’s not uncommon to see large cavities without any discomfort whatsoever. As such, early interception is crucial!
White Dental Fillings
Brentford Dental uses white dental filling materials that are minimally invasive and bond closely with tooth enamel. The colour of the restoration can be matched to the shade and shape of the healthy teeth around it.
The hybrid composite material is extremely durable. Over the years, refined technology has allowed us to place stronger fillings that withstand the test of time. That way your filling doesn’t break down as quickly and will last longer than ever.
Composite is mercury free, unlike traditional amalgam (metal) fillings. If you have older restorations that look unsightly or are casting a grey shadow, it’s worth considering having them replaced with a white version. That way you can smile without any unnatural discolouration across your teeth.
What to expect at your dental fillings appointment
A typical filling appointment takes about 20 – 40 minutes to complete depending on the size and location of the tooth.
First, we’ll apply a local anaesthetic so that the tooth is numb and you don’t have to feel anything (even using The Wand – for needles you won’t even feel).
Then we remove the decay and replace the tooth structure that looks exactly like it’s supposed to belong there – matching the surrounding teeth perfectly in shape and colour.
What are the alternatives to dental fillings?
Caught early enough, enamel demineralisation can be reversed before an active cavity forms inside of your tooth. The key is to practice good oral hygiene, including brushing along the gums twice a day and flossing daily. Professional fluoride treatments at your scale and clean appointment are also beneficial. We may also suggest a high fluoride toothpaste like Colgate Neutrafluor 5000 for you to use at home if you are susceptible to tooth decay.
Unless the cavity is caught early, it can expand deeper into your tooth and in some cases also spread to adjacent teeth. Teeth that suffer from aggressive decay cannot be repaired with a filling, due to the structural integrity needed during everyday use. At that point, something like a full-coverage dental crown is the only option to repair the tooth.
If the cavity is deep enough, a root canal will also be necessary. But waiting too long to repair the tooth could result in it becoming non-restorable, making an extraction required. So acting early, and getting a filling done is the best option.
If you’re experiencing any signs of a cavity, then a tooth filling may be your best option to treat it
Smile without any unnatural discolouration across your teeth with White Dental Fillings.
For dental fillings in Forest Hill, schedule an appointment with Brentford Dental today.