Understanding Cavities and Fillings

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Understanding cavities starts with a basic knowledge of tooth anatomy. Teeth consist of several layers. The outer covering of the tooth is made up of material called enamel, and it’s the hardest substance in the human body. Under the gum line, cementum covers each tooth’s root. Beneath this lies dentin, which contains nerve endings. The deepest layer is called the pulp, and it contains the tooth’s vascular structure and nerve center. After teeth are fully developed, the pulp’s only purpose it to alert us when it is damaged. It does this through transmitting pain.

What Causes Tooth Decay?
Food can easily become trapped in the pits and grooves of a tooth’s biting surfaces, and plaque left behind can start to cause tooth decay. The damage soon spreads from their thin surface to the tooth’s underlying dentin. The second way a cavity attacks is from a smoother surface between teeth or on the front and back. The affected area is usually wide and comes to a point at the entrance to deeper layers of the tooth.

Finding and Treating Cavities
Hands-on visual exams and use of an explorer probe can help your dentist locate areas of decay. X-ray examinations, especially bitewing x-rays, reveal tooth decay wedged between teeth and under the gum line. When these methods don’t reveal enough information, your dentist may use a disclosing solution to test suspicious areas. If a cavity extends into the dentin, treatment is necessary. The two-part goal of cavity treatment includes removing decay and replacing it with a filling material. After injecting a local anesthetic, the dentist uses a high-speed dental drill to remove all decayed portions of the tooth and prepare it for a filling. A liner is often inserted into the tooth to reduce sensitivity. Base cements may be added to deeper fillings for temperature insulation. The filling is usually made from amalgam, resin, porcelain, or gold. Fillings are layered on top of the liner to rebuild its structure.

Cavity Prevention
Affordable dentists can repair most decayed teeth, but cavity prevention is always preferable. The easiest way to avoid the dental drill is to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Brush at least twice every day, and floss once daily. Avoid or limit sugary snacks and drinks, and visit your dentist regularly.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in Philadelphia, call Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania today at (215) 789-9675 or make an appointment.

Gentle Dental offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Philadelphia. With 14 affiliated practices in the Greater Philadelphia area, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania.

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Patient Reviews
Natalie at springfield office is great! thorough, gentle and caring.
Edwin J.
Everyone is always so friendly and caring! To say the staff go above and beyond is an understatement!
Sarah W.
As always, a great experience! Going to the dentist is usually not described in so many words, but the staff at Gentle Dental Haverford make you feel […]
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great fast service and nice people.
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Very satisfied with overall experience ! Tooth looks great , would never know anything was done to it :)
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Staff is the BEST! I also love the fact that it's an all female staff.
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Staff very friendly, good timing,no long waits
Mildred T.
Everyone there in the Springfield, PA practice takes the time to explain every procedure, every step, and all are very pleasant and make you feel […]
Nancy H.
dental hygienist was great. i believe name is erin. put me at ease enough to get the job done..and that is not an easy thing to do...
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My experience was great. Staff was great, no issue or problems. I actually look forward to my dental appointments.
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My experience here has been great! The staff is very professional & courteous.
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Great place and people
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I never like going to the dentist until coming to Gentle Dental.. As I open the door Treat greeting from the ladies in the front windows.. Smiles […]
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nice and gentle
Joan D.
Dr. Wendy and her assistant were amazing. I was very nervous about the procedure, and they made me feel comfortable and relaxed.
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i just recently started going here. its a GREAT place to go!!!!!!! they are all so nice. I recommend this place to friends and family . I Love my […]
Alexis P.
Another great visit from the staff at Gentle Dental.
Albert M.
i had been up all night with this bad pain so i got up and went down to GentalDental no appt. I walked in explained my problem and was told i could […]
Richard W.
Staff was very friendly and they were able to save me time by fitting me in for a cleaning in addition to my x-rays on the same day. Dr. Minetola […]
Ronald H.
excellent service!!!!
Antonia N.
Very patient freindy environment, always ask you are you OK? while servicing your teeth:-)
Mildred T.
Very pleasant atmosphere and people are very attentive. They make you feel very comfortable.
Nancy H.
I think the girls were very friendly and easy to talk to. The dentist was super sweet and gentle. I didnt feel a thing well until the novacaine wore […]
Diana M.
I like this practice and they are very good with chilren. I always have a good experience with my daughter.
Madelyn N.
Excellent care, especially for an emergency visit.
Theresa M.
I was taken right away, treated professionally and curtiously. Donna is great!
Joann C.
The best dental care I've ever received.
Robert G.
The whole staff was very professional and caring.
Alisha W.
Pleased with visit and great staff
Yvette C.
Great appointment as always!
Lucy D.
I found the office staff very nice and the dentist took his time with me and explained everything that I needed done
Frances B.
Short wait, courteous personnel, and speedy procedures. Both Hygienist and DD were very responsive to my concerns. It might help if the procedures […]
Livio A.
Very friendly, would definitely return.
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Thorough, accurate, enjoying their work. Calm and unhurried.
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Very friendly and efficient staff.
Michael S.
Saw me immediately for dental emergency
James K.
Excellent service on an emergency appt....
Elizabeth R.
Pleasant and knowledgeable staff. Only thing that is bad is that lot can sometimes be really filled with cars
William M.
The women in that office were amazing!! They are all professional and very friendly. I would highly recommend them to anyone.
Marc H.
Natalie did a great job as usual with no pain.
Edwin J.
Everything I went there for turned out fine.
Janet K.
I was very pleased with the service and treatment.
John H.
I had a great visit. Everyone is so professional and my cleaning was great. I can't wait until my next visit!
Megan R.
I had a question of an item Dr Finkleman had done to my mouth. I returned and he explained again and things are perfect.
Audrey R.
Thanks for your proffesionalism Dr In and the whole staff.
Robert C.
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