Although people never like learning that they have a cavity, it is much better to know it exists than to not realize one is there. After all, cavities can usually be treated with a filling, a simple and effective procedure that minimizes the risks for further health problems. Dr. Jason Keefe of 5 Mile Smiles explains why you should prioritize getting your filling done as soon as possible after your dentist spots a cavity during your examination.
Do Not Expect a Cavity to Get Better
The most important thing to understand is that cavities do not go away on their own. There is often a misconception that brushing and flossing can “fix” a cavity, but that is not true. While brushing and flossing can prevent future cavities, it does not help existing cavities.
Moreover, the longer a cavity is ignored, the worse the decay will get. Some patients think they can get away with delaying a filling for an appointment months or a year away, but that is a gamble. In the interim, the cavity will get worse and a filling may no longer be a sufficient solution by the time you decide to address it.
You Are Risking a Root Canal
Once the amount of infection in a tooth gets too significant, a simple filling will no longer do the trick. At that point, the most effective solution is usually a root canal. A root canal involves rinsing out the infected or inflamed pulp at the center of your tooth and then filling in the vacated space so the infection cannot return.
Although a root canal will preserve your tooth, it may be too weak to function on its own. Often, patients will need a crown to be placed on top to protect it.
Or Worse, Tooth Extraction
Unfortunately, sometimes the infection in a tooth is so severe that even a root canal cannot save it. Although it is usually the last resort, if the tooth can no longer survive in your mouth, Dr. Keefe may need to remove it from your mouth.
The silver lining is that there are multiple dental options to help replace a missing tooth so you will not have to have a permanent hole in your smile. Dental implants and dental bridges are among the solutions that Dr. Keefe can provide to you to install a prosthetic tooth.
To be clear, although these treatments are effective, they can be costly, so they are certainly not preferable to taking early interventions to preserve your natural teeth. The quickest and least expensive solution is to get the filling as soon as you know about a cavity.
Need a Filling?
If you have to put off getting a filling or are just overdue on your biannual dental checkup that will confirm whether your teeth are cavity free, then it is time to make an appointment at 5 Mile Smiles. Call (509) 326-2621 to get treated by one of Spokane’s finest dental teams.