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What Happens After a Cavity?

Each year in the United States there are over 3 million cavities diagnosed. So you are not alone if you or your children have cavities. In fact, cavities are the number one reason kids miss school. 90% of all adults have a cavity at some point in their life. If you have visited the dentist recently and they found a cavity, you may be wondering what happens next. The answer to this depends on how severe the cavities are. But in most cases when you develop a cavity, and it is caught early, then your dentist will be able to do a filling, which will fix the issue early.

Filling procedure

To begin filling a tooth the dentist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the area, to prevent any pain from the filing. They will then use a tool to remove the decayed area within the tooth. The dentist will use a specialized tool for this process. The tool chosen changes based off of the severity of the cavity. These tools include things such as a laser, drill, or air abrasion. All of these tools the dentist will be experienced in using. Once the dentist has removed the decay from your tooth. They will be getting preparing your tooth for the filling by cleaning the area well. We don’t want any bacteria or other debris to remain since this could cause a future issue.

Types of fillings

There are many different materials that a dentist can choose when filling a cavity. We are going to list different options.

Amalgam (Silver)

The cavity filling material has been used for more than 100 years! And is a mixture of different metals including tin, copper, silver, mercury, and zinc. This filling material is long-lasting and durable, it is also cheap! However the material is a dark color, so will stand out easily. They have become less popular in recent years because of this.


This filling material has been used for many years because of its strength. They will usually last longer than almost any other material. The drawback is the cost, and most dental insurance companies will not pay for gold filling. They also potentially can cause something called a galvanic shock, but this is very rare. So if you don’t mind the cost, then these are a great option.


Composite is made from a mixture of acrylic resin and powdered glass. This type of filling has become very popular since it is the same color as your teeth which mean that people won’t notice the fillings. They are less durable, which is one of their issues. But they offer more support since they actually bond with the tooth, and don’t require as much of the tooth to be removed.

Resin/glass Lonomer

You may not have heard of this type of filling material, but is most often used for small cavities in children’s teeth. They aren’t used in areas that will experience chewing or other pressure since this material is delicate.

These are some of the most common types of fillings, and your dentist will help you choose which is best. It is also important that you are visiting the dentist regularly so that any cavities you do have will be caught quickly, and filled before they come severe.