To treat a cavity, we will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then “fill” the area on the tooth where the decayed material once lived. Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as from nail-biting or tooth-grinding).
First, we will numb the area around the tooth to be worked on with a local anesthetic. Next, a drill and air abrasion instrument will be used to remove the decayed area. Next, we will probe or test the area during the decay removal process to determine if all the decay has been removed. Once the decay has been removed, we will prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris. If the decay is near the root, we may first put in a liner made of glass ionomer, composite resin, or other material to protect the nerve. Generally, after the filling is in, we will finish and polish the tooth.