At Smiles of Memorial, Dr. Dernick and his team hear this question often. It is a valid one. When a dentist, like Dr. Dernick, tells you that you have a cavity and need a dental filling, do you ever wonder, “but, do I really need a filling?”. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of getting a filling to learn if patients can forgo small fillings and if cavities can heal themselves.
What is a Dental Cavity?
First, let’s talk about a cavity. When you eat sugars or carbs, molecules in the food cling to your teeth and start to wear down your tooth’s outer defense mechanism called enamel. This then forms a cavity. There are a few ways you fight against these invaders. First, drinking water or chewing sugar-free gum that stimulates saliva production will rinse the bacteria from your enamel. secondly, as a part of a good oral hygiene routine, remember to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time and floss once per day. This reduces the number of bacteria on your teeth and spots them from wearing down your teeth.
What Happens if you Don’t Treat a Cavity?
Over time, the small amount of decay in your tooth will grow larger. With poor oral hygiene, the decay the size of the decay will grow larger quicker. When the decay first develops, it can sometimes be resolved with good oral hygiene and without a filling. The next intervention is filling the cavity. If the cavity is too big to fill, you may need a root canal. In severe cases, the tooth may have to be extracted and replaced with a crown, bridge, denture, or dental implant.
Although, a filling may not always be the answer to restore a cavity. Right now, scientists are testing a new medication named Tideglusib. The GSK3 antagonist is a cloth-like material that is attached to the decayed area. So far, the treatment has only been tested on rats and the Tideglusib material helped the rat’s body use its own cells to restore the tooth. The advancements seem promising, but the team of researchers needs to test the medication on humans before organizations like the American Dental Association can recommend it for clinical use.
The answer to your question? Right now, if the cavity is not found early, the best treatment is to receive a filling from Dr. Dernick at Smiles of Memorial in Memorial, Texas. However, there is a possibility that stem cells could help your tooth repair itself without a dental filling. For more information about dental fillings or to plan your next visit to Smiles of Memorial, call us today!