As children, it was one of the things we dreaded most: being told we had a cavity. Few people are fortunate enough to live out their entire lives without ever getting a single one. However, you may have never given much thought to the process dentists go through when treating a cavity. It is one of the most common things they do, but it is still a matter of the unknown for the average person. If you’ve had a few cavities filled in your day, are gearing up for an appointment in which one will be filled, or are just curious about the process, here is an overview of what your dental professional does on a daily basis.
The first step in treating a cavity is discovering it, of course. This is why dentists recommend making it into the office once every six months. This interval ensures they can stay on top of your oral health and catch any problems before they become worse. When you let cavities and other oral health problems go undetected for too long, the treatment goes from something very simple to something expensive and painful. You don’t want this to happen, so make sure you practice excellent oral hygiene and get to the dental office on a regular basis.
During these regular visits, dentists will explore the teeth using a pick and a mirror, looking for signs of trouble. Discolorations and other abnormalities can be a beacon to him that something is wrong and will require further attention. Some have even begun using computer imaging to make identifying the location of cavities that much more of an exact science. Since the advent of these new tools, more patients are able to get their cavities discovered in a timely manner, cutting down on the process that follows. When a cavity is found and it has come time to do the work, the dentist will give the patient some local anesthetic, which will remove the feeling from that area of the mouth and allow him to work on the patient’s tooth without causing any pain.
Dentists use a special drill to break through the enamel shell of the tooth and get to the hole inside that has been caused by decay. They will then change to a bur, which they will use to clean out the tooth in question and prepare it for the filling that is to come. Any decayed material from the tooth must be removed before it has a chance to infect the pulp, which would then require a root canal to properly get rid of.
Dentists will usually use either silver amalgam or a composite filling when doing a direct restoration. The silver amalgam used to be, by far, the most popular type of filling and is a mixture of silver and liquid mercury. In recent years, composite fillings have become more popular. They combine glass or porcelain within plastic and tend to blend into the teeth much more readily. Some patients even opt for indirect treatments such as inlays and onlays, which tend to be much more expensive.
St Louis dentists take care of the teeth of the vast population of the city, but how do you find one to take care of your teeth? To find a list of practitioners in this area, please visit http://www.angieslist.com/