Perhaps you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, and you’re dreading the inevitable fillings. Maybe your tooth is hurting and you just know you have your first cavity. Or perhaps you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair and you’ve been informed that you have a cavity that needs filling. In all of these situations, you might wonder, “What happens if you don’t get a filling?”
What Happens If You Don’t Get a Filling?
What happens if you don’t get a filling? When decay damages a tooth, the destruction to the enamel is irreversible. If the cavity is left untreated, the decay can spread and worsen, destroying healthy parts of the tooth. And if enough time goes by, your dentist won’t be able to repair the tooth with a conventional filling at all . . .
A Root Canal
If the decay reaches the pulp chamber of the tooth, where the nerve and blood vessels are located, the bacteria will irritate and infect the pulp. Eventually, this may lead to an abscess, which is a swollen area of tissue containing an accumulation of pus (lovely, right?). Abscesses are typically very painful, and they can’t be repaired with a simple filling. At this point, your dentist will need to perform a root canal to save your tooth. The infected pulp will be removed, the inside of the tooth will be cleaned, and the tooth will be sealed. Often, the tooth must be covered with a crown as a final, protective step.
Given enough time, decay will wreak havoc on a tooth and may destroy it entirely. If this happens, a root canal won’t be able to save the tooth. Your dentist will need to extract the tooth and replace it with an implant or a bridge.
The Importance of Fillings
A cavity will not heal on its own – it will only worsen. And as it worsens, the treatment options become more extensive and expensive. Root canals and crowns are not cheap treatments, and replacing a tooth is often even more costly. By treating a cavity with a simple filling early, you can save yourself money, pain, stress, and perhaps even a tooth!
A filling can restore a damaged tooth, returning its functionality and eliminating any pain. It’s an extremely common, routine procedure.
Your dentist will apply local anesthesia at the beginning of the appointment to numb your mouth and prevent discomfort. Then, the tooth decay will be removed from the tooth enamel using a drill. Your dentist will shape the space to prepare it for the filling. If a bonded filling is needed, your dentist will also etch the tooth with an acid gel to ensure the filling will securely attach to the tooth. After that, the resin filling will be applied in layers and hardened with a bright light, making it strong and sturdy. Finally, your dentist will polish the tooth and check your bite to ensure it’s comfortable.
Your dentist will decide which type of filling material is right for you based on the location of the filling, the extent of the repair, and the cost differences. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your dentist or hygienist.
So what happens if you don’t get a filling? You may need a root canal, a crown, or even an extraction. A simple filling sounds more appealing now, doesn’t it?
If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!