15 Facts About Dental Fillings and Cavities

checking fillings and for cavities with dental mirror and probe
Close-up of patient’s open mouth during an oral checkup with mirror and hook

Aside from a standard health checkup, dental fillings are the most common reason for visiting a professional dentist. If you have a cavity that needs treating, Rinaldi Dental Arts specializes in smile restoration, including tooth-colored fillings to restore your smile.

In this post, we give you a set of 15 facts about dental fillings and cavities. So, the next time you are sitting in the dental chair getting your cavities replaced with fillings, recall these facts and know that you are not alone in this procedure.

#1. Dental fillings are probably the oldest form of dentistry

Dental fillings have a long history. Modern forms of fillings have been used in America and other developed countries for over 150 years. Incredibly, though, the history of filling oral cavities can be dated back over 6,500 years as a beeswax filling was discovered in Italy to become one of the earliest forms of dentistry in human history.

#2. An estimated 175 million fillings are completed each year

The NYTimes reported in 2011 that the American Dental Association suggests that Americans received 175 million dental fillings every year. If this is true, then it means that there is one filling every year for every two American citizens. Even when you take the fact that most patients will have more than one filling during an appointment, it underlines the common nature of the issue.

#3. One in four American has at least one untreated cavity

Studies show that over 90% of Americans have some level of tooth decay while 25% have one or more cavities that have not yet been filled. This highlights the need for regular dental appointments as early treatment is the best way to limit pain, discomfort, and further problems for the affected tooth and adjacent teeth.

#4. The average American adult has three dental fillings

Adults in America have an average of three dental fillings per person while one in four people have at least 11 dental fillings! Children can have dental fillings too, on their baby teeth as well as their permanent teeth. Many patients have multiple fillings completed in one visit, especially when the cavities are located in close proximity to each other,

#5. Sugary foods primarily cause cavities

Cavities ultimately develop into holes in the teeth. The culprit is sugary food and drinks. The bacteria found in plaque turns carbohydrates into acid, which will subsequently break down the tooth surface. Once cavities develop, they cannot be reversed naturally, although several steps can slow the process. However, fillings are the best solution.

#6. Cavities can form even in infancy

Many people wonder at what age cavities can start to form. It has been shown that babies can start to show signs of infection from bacteria causing plaque towards the end of their first year. If left untreated, those issues will develop into cavities that can subsequently cause pain, discomfort, and issues for the child’s oral development.

#7. There are several signs that could mean you have cavities

Many people know that a toothache can be a sign of dental cavities. However, there is a long list of additional symptoms to consider. The list includes, but not limited to, sensitivity, pain when biting down, discolored spots on the tooth surface, visible holes, sharp pains when eating or drinking hot and cold foods. A dentist should check all of those symptoms.

#8. Amalgam dental fillings are the most common by far

Dental fillings are available in various materials, including gold, porcelain, and glass ionomer. However, silver amalgam dental fillings are the most common solution due to their affordability and convenient procedure. They are made with silver, tin, zinc, and copper.

#9. Tooth-colored composite fillings are gaining popularity

The function of amalgam fillings is great, but many patients will feel a little conscious about their visibility. Dr. Rinaldi can fill cavities with tooth-colored composite fillings for a more natural look. The resin fillings have become increasingly common over the past decade or so, with millions of patients now using them. They can even replace old fillings.

#10. Tooth fillings can last for 15 years or longer

Different tooth fillings will offer greater long-term durability than others. Amalgam fillings can last for 15 years or longer while composite last seven. Porcelain fillings can last for 15 years too while glass ionomer fillings typically last five years. However, longevity is influenced by the quality of fitting, oral hygiene, and size of the filling.

#11. Untreated dental caries are the most common health issue worldwide

In fact, over 3.5 billion people are believed to suffer from caries that will develop into cavities. They can additionally be linked to a host of additional health concerns, including potentially life-threatening problems. Early treatment in the form of dental fillings is the best way to prevent escalating problems, as well as overcoming the discomfort linked to the cavities.

#12. Dental fillings can save money in the long run

When left untreated, dental cavities can become so deep that they require root canal treatment. Similarly, if they become too big, you may need to have a dental crown fitted. In severe cases, the tooth may even require extraction and a dental bridge. While there are ways to rescue the situation, a filling is the best for your time and money.

#13. Up to 69% of 35-44-year-olds have lost a tooth

While tooth decay isn’t the only reason for this, untreated cavities are one of the chief causes of damage that leads to tooth loss. With almost seven in 10 people experiencing this issue at this vital age group, alongside many more in the over 45 categories, the need to stay on top of the situation is clear. Dental fillings are often the central feature.

#14. Decay can continue under a filling

While dental fillings solve the problem after the cavity has set in, it doesn’t prevent the threat of further tooth decay. After all, you still have the natural tooth under the filling. Poor oral hygiene allows sugars and plaque to cause the same damage to the remaining parts of the tooth surface. Employing better hygiene is essential.

#15. Dental fillings can be fitted in one session

For patients who are a little frightened of visiting the dentist, the fact that dental fillings can be completed in one sitting is very attractive.  Rinaldi Dental Arts can complete visual inspections and dental filling procedures in one sitting that should take no longer than an hour, even if 3-5 fillings are required. Call today to find out more.