Cavity? What's Next?

Got a cavity? Learn about the dental filling procedure and what the next best steps are after discovering a cavity. Come see us at Swish Smiles for more info!

Did you know that over 80% of Americans who are in their mid 30s have at least one cavity? In fact, cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases that impact people of every age. For those of you that have, or think you have, a cavity, you may be thinking “What’s next?”

While the severity of the cavity and the stage at which it is discovered will dictate the treatmentThe answer to that question will depend on the severity of the cavity. When the cavity is discovered early on, a routine dental fillings procedure will more than likely be the course of action and a conversation about the different types of fillings will take place.

Dental Fillings Procedure

Since a cavity is just a hole in the tooth from tooth decay, the main objective when doing a dental filling is to clean out the hole and fill it with something to help stop the decay. If a cavity is detected early on, local anesthesia may not be necessary. For cavities that are a bit more ingrained in the tooth, the dentist will begin by numbing the area around the tooth and will administer a local anesthetic  to eliminate or greatly reduce any pain. The tooth will be isolated to avoid contamination and will be kept dry by using a dental appliance or guard. A variety of tools may be used to remove the decay such as a spoon excavator, a dental drill, an  abrasion tool or even a laser may be used. 

After the area has been successfully cleaned and the decay removed, the tooth will be ready to apply the dental filling material. In the final step of the dental fillings procedure, the dentist will test your bite to ensure proper alignment and then polish so the filling is as smooth as your other teeth.

Types of Fillings

Dentists are able to us a number of different materials when filling your cavity. Below is a list of the common types of fillings.

Silver ( or Amalgam)

Silver fillings have been used for more than a century and are derived from a mixture of metals including mercury, tin, copper, silver and zinc. Not only are they durable and long lasting, they also tend to be the least expensive option for fillings. One of the main drawbacks is that they have a dark, metal color that are may be less visually appealing than other options


Gold fillings are the most expensive option but are also known for their strength and generally last longer than other options. and much like their silver counterpart are highly visible. Another downside to gold is that insurance companies are not usually willing to pay for gold fillings. 


A composite is made from synthetic resin and have become more popular as they can more easily blend in with the natural tooth color. While they maybe a bit less durable than other options they bond to your tooth and don’t usually require as much of the original tooth to be worn down.


Ceramic fillings give off more of a natural appearance and porcelain is the main material used. While expensive they are also reliable and fast becoming the standard of care for dentists across the globe.

Glass Ionomer

Glass ionomer fillings are most commonly used for temporary fillings, decay located at or near the gumline or in baby teeth. Essentially made of a flexible paste, they are easy to apply yet are generally less durable than other options.

Come See Us!!

If you have tooth pain or sensitivity it may be time to visit your dentist and get to the root of the problem. If you do in fact have a cavity it is comforting to know that you have many different options that don’t have to be painful and can easily resolve your issue.

Your best smile is the one that not only makes you look great but makes you feel great as well. Getting that perfect smile that you want doesn’t have to be a burden.

At Swish Dental we are always here to promote you and your smile. From General Dentistry, Family Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry, to Invisalign and Sleep Apnea Treatment, making you smile is what makes us smile. We’d love to walk with you on your dental journey so make an appointment today!

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Last Modified:
August 23, 2023