4 Myths About Cavities And Fillings, Debunked

Brushing and flossing your teeth and receiving professional dental cleanings are all important steps if you want a healthy and appealing smile. Unfortunately, brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist may not be enough for some people. Considering that an estimated 91 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have cavities, you may also develop this form of tooth decay. Even though so many people develop cavities and decay, this common dental condition is not understood well. By debunking these common myths, you will have a better understanding of cavities and cavity fillings.

Cavities Cause Pain

If you do not have any pain or discomfort in your teeth/mouth, you may think you are free of cavities, but that is not actually the case. One of the most common myths people believe is that cavities always cause pain.

During the early development of a cavity, you will most likely not experience any pain or discomfort. This is because cavities begin in the tooth enamel, where plaque and bacteria start the decay process. Since there are no nerve endings or roots in the enamel, pain is not likely during the initial stages of a cavity.

Of course, as the decay spreads into the tooth pulp, which is where nerves and roots are located, you may begin to feel some discomfort. Teeth may feel extremely sensitive to cold and hot beverages. You may also experience slight pain when biting down on foods. As the cavity and decay becomes more severe, you may develop a sharper pain.

Sugar Causes Cavities

Another common misconception people believe is that cavities are caused by sugar. To understand the truth behind this myth, you need to understand how cavities actually form.

Your mouth is loaded with bacteria, which can be both good and bad. When you eat foods that contain sugar and starch, the bacteria feed on these foods, creating an acidic plaque that builds up on the surface of the teeth. Without proper brushing, flossing, and rinsing, the acids will eat through enamel, eventually causing cavities and decay.

Eating a lot of sugary foods can increase your risk of developing cavities, but it is not the actual cause. The heavy buildup of plaque and improper oral hygiene are the real causes of cavities.

Amalgam Fillings Are Dangerous

If you have a cavity, your dentist will recommend a filling. While there are many types of fillings available to you, including composite, gold, and ceramic, amalgam is one of the most common materials used today.

Silver amalgam actually contains a variety of materials. These fillings consist of silver, zinc, tin, copper, and traces of mercury. Even though it is a natural substance found in the air, soil, water, and the human body, mercury is feared by many people because it can be dangerous in high levels.

Thankfully, the amount of mercury found in amalgam fillings is very low, meaning this durable cavity filling is not only effective and durable, but also safe. Recent studies have shown that there is no link between mercury poisoning and amalgam fillings.

Cavity Fillings Are Painful

Finally, you may believe that the process of filling a cavity is painful, since dentists use dental drills and other devices to complete the process. Again, this is not true. The most painful part of the cavity filling will be the light prick that occurs when the dentist numbs the gums and mouth with anesthetic.

Once numb, your dentist will use a dental drill to remove the decay from the enamel and interior of the tooth. This may sound like a painful process, but your gums and mouth will be completely numb. After removing the decay, the cavity will be filled with your chosen filling material.

You will not experience any pain, but you may feel some slight pressure as the dentist works inside your mouth. 

You can get more information about cavities and dental fillings by talking to your local dentist.