Tooth decay is the condition that results when harmful oral bacteria attack your tooth structure. When bacteria weaken tooth enamel and infect the body of the tooth, a cavity forms and continues to grow as the decay spreads. Early detection and restorative treatment with a filling can usually save the tooth from extensive decay, loss, or the need for extraction. Depending on the size and location of the cavity, your dentist might suggest a metal filling for maximum strength, or a tooth-colored filling for a more cosmetically-appealing finish.
The reason for filling a tooth is two-fold; your dentist will clean the cavity of bacteria and infected tooth structure, then place the filling to restore the tooth structure that was lost. This reinforces its structural integrity while simultaneously preventing oral bacteria from reaching the now-exposed (without enamel) body of the tooth. Eliminating bacterial decay and filling the cavity also alleviates the sometimes severe discomfort that accompanies tooth decay so you can once again smile, bite, and chew your food comfortably.
In extreme cases of tooth decay, such as when the infection reaches the inner chamber (known as the pulp), a tooth filling may not be enough to address the issue. After a careful examination using advanced digital imaging equipment, your dentist can determine if you require a more involved treatment, such as root canal therapy, to effectively remove the infection and restore the tooth.
Are tooth-colored fillings better than silver ones?
If you have a cavity, a tooth-colored filling offers a more esthetic result than metal. However, choosing the right filling depends on more than just appearance. Dentists within Doctors Network treat patients according to their unique needs, and if your tooth is subjected to intense bite pressure, then a metal filling may be the better option. Your dentist will discuss which option is most appropriate during an initial examination and consultation.
What is the cost of a tooth filling?
The average cost of a tooth filling ranges between $100 and $300 per tooth or higher, depending on the dentist. But with a general dentist in Doctors Network, the cost is only $35-$65 per tooth.