Dental cavities develop over time. At Jersey Smile in Berkeley Heights, NJ, we tell our patients to come in for checkups so we can detect cavities at an early stage. By the time a cavity starts causing pain or sensitivity, it’s usually grown a considerable amount.
The treatment we use to treat a cavity relies on its size. Most cavities can be treated with dental fillings. Larger ones can be treated using inlays, onlays, and even crowns. At Jersey Smile, we need to accurately assess the size and depth of a cavity before recommending the best treatment.
Patients with cavities often complain of toothaches or increased sensitivity with hot and cold. If they come in for their regular checkups, we can catch cavities before they start producing symptoms. Seeing a cavity using our tools isn’t always enough.
We often ask patients for dental x-rays. These x-rays help us determine how deep a cavity is and whether other teeth are affected. Knowing the depth of a cavity is hard to do by examination. X-rays are great at showing us teeth and bones, which are the things we work with the most in dentistry. MRIs and CTs are rarely required and are useful when we want to see soft tissue like cartilage in the TMJ.
Before we start placing a filling, we have to do two things. The first is numb the affected area using local anesthesia, so patients remain comfortable. The second is clean the cavity. Placing a filling in an infected cavity would be a big mistake.
There are many types of fillings to choose from. There are gold, silver, porcelain, ceramic, and resin fillings. Gold and silver fillings are the strongest but don’t look great, so are often reserved for hind teeth. Porcelain, ceramic, and resin fillings are all white, so they look just like your teeth. Resin is the cheapest and lasts about 5-10 years. Porcelain and ceramic fillings are more expensive and last about 10-15 years.
You can drive yourself home after getting a filling and will be able to resume your activities regularly.