Cavities and Fillings

Cavity Treatment and Fillings

Cavities are the most common dental problem we treat. Chances are, at some point in your life, you will develop this potentially painful condition that, when treated early, can be easily addressed in one visit. If cavities aren't treated, they get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth.

They can lead to severe toothache, infection and tooth loss. Visiting our Payson, AZ dental office for regular visits is essential because catching cavities before they become painful makes treating them much easier. The good news is you can not only treat existing cavities quickly and easily in one visit, you can also prevent future cavities by making regular visits to Anderson Dental and practicing good oral hygiene.

If you are experiencing pain in your mouth - or if you have a tooth filling that fell out — contact the Payson, Arizona dentists at Anderson Dental by giving us a call at 928-474-4581 or filling out our online form.


How Cavities Occur

Enamel is the hard coating that protects teeth from decay. Fluoride, the active substance in toothpaste that is sometimes added to water, helps keep enamel strong, as does regular brushing and flossing. Bacteria naturally thrive in your mouth — some are healthy, and others are not. When you eat sugary foods or beverages, the bacteria feed on that sugar. They then produce an acid that can wear down the enamel of your tooth if not cleaned promptly. Bacteria attack the tooth when the enamel is damaged or worn down, decaying the tooth and forming a hole or cavity. Untreated cavities grow larger over time and can be painful or worse if left untreated. They frequently occur in children who haven't yet mastered oral hygiene as well as adults whose enamel has weakened over time.


Symptoms and Treatment for Cavities

Certain symptoms make identifying a cavity easierand during early stages, you may not detect any discomfort. If you suffer from a toothache or pain around the tooth, pain when you eat something hot, cold or sweet, or it hurts when you bite down, you may have a cavity. Other obvious symptoms include seeing pus around the tooth. More severe symptoms of a cavity include:

  • Tingling pain
  • Toothache: a stabbing pain present even after eating
  • Bad breath: resulting from bacteria growth
  • Stains: black, brown or white spots on the surface of your tooth can indicate decay
  • A hole in the tooth: a sign that enamel has worn away

Cavities are quite common and affect over 90 percent of the population, so most likely, you will need a cavity filled at some point in your life. With modern dentistry techniques, you can have a filling placed in an afternoon. When your cavity is filled, your dentist will follow these steps:

  • Numbing the site: To remain comfortable during the procedure, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area, so you don’t feel pain during the procedure.
  • Prepping the mouth: After numbing, your dentist may prepare your mouth by placing a rubber dam or bite block to keep it open. At this time, the dentist will also match the shade of the new filling to your teeth.
  • Removing decay: A suction tool will be used to remove excess water, saliva and debris from the tooth. Once the decay has been removed, your dentist will place the new filling.

Composite Tooth Fillings

A composite filling is a tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture used to restore decayed teeth. Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.

Following preparation, the dentist places the composite in layers, typically using a light specialized to harden each layer. When the process is finished, the dentist will shape the composite to fit the tooth. The dentist then polishes the composite to prevent staining and early wear.

Can Tooth Fillings Fall Out?

woman with toothache from cavityLosing a tooth filling can be startling, painful and confusing — but what causes fillings to fall out? In short, an intact filling can’t just fall or pop out of your mouth while performing normal daily tasks like flossing, eating tough or textured foods or during a dental visit. If you have a tooth filling that has fallen from your mouth, regardless if you were eating or flossing at the time, then most likely the tooth has suffered some damage.

The most common cause for fillings coming out is that there is tooth decay present underneath the filling. The tooth under the filling is like the filling’s foundation — if the area underneath the tooth is soft, then the filling no longer has a solid surface to rest on, and it will eventually detach and fall out.

Another possible cause for a failed filling could be that your dentist placed a filling on the tooth when a crown would’ve been a sturdier choice. In this case, the filling was expected to fail. A parafunctional habit, such as bruxism, fingernail biting, etc., may have caused the filling to weaken as well.

Signs a Filling Could Fall Out

Fillings are used to repair cavities and chipped tooth enamel, and while they are intended to repair the tooth for many years, they don’t last forever. If your filling is older and larger, you may start noticing signs that the filling may fail soon. Look for:

  • Sensitive teeth: noticeable pain when eating or drinking hot or cold foods, often a cracked filling
  • Tooth pain: often the result of a change in texture or the filling has worn down

Fixing a Filling

When your cavity filling falls out, it’s not an emergency, but you will want to schedule an appointment with your dentist to evaluate the tooth and determine the next steps for repairing the area. Many people may feel pain when a filling falls out because the tooth underneath the filling is now exposed tissue. It's extremely sensitive to pressure, air and hot or cold temperatures.

At your dental appointment, your dentist will evaluate the tooth to determine the next steps. They will look for additional decay, locate any other fillings and cracks and search for additional factors that may have contributed to the filling falling out. Your dentist will then decide whether to place a new, larger filling on the tooth or place a crown. New fillings can usually be done, but most likely, the new filling won’t last long if there is a lot of decay and not much tooth left. For teeth in the back, the tooth will probably be very decayed if the filling falls out, so your dentist will most likely recommend a crown. For front teeth, your dentist will often replace the filling with a larger one.

To prevent your new filling from falling out, schedule regular dental visits and practice good oral hygiene.

Preventing Cavities

Preventing cavities is easier than treating them, and by practicing good oral hygiene and developing good habits, you can limit the number of cavities you develop. To reduce your risk of developing cavities:

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes.
  • Clean between your teeth daily with floss.
  • Avoid excessive sweet or sticky snacks.
  • Visit your local dentist at Anderson Dental of Payson, AZ twice per year for routine dental checkups.

By trusting Anderson Dental with your cavity filling, no one will even know it's there. Our dentists use tooth-colored fillings that are durable and permanent instead of older silver amalgams. These tooth-colored fillings are made from blended resins resembling a tooth’s dentin. Non-amalgam fillers bond to the tooth to prevent loosening or breakages that are often problems associated with silver fillings. These non-amalgam fillings improve overall tooth structure and health, and we highly recommend them for medium and large cavities.

At Anderson Dental, we strive to create a soothing and comfortable atmosphere for all of our children and adult patients. Our dental services also include preventative checkups and X-rays, implants, root canals and crowns. We also offer a full range of cosmetic dentistry procedures like teeth whitening and bleaching, cosmetic veneers and full mouth reconstructions. For all of our new patients, we even offer a free dental exam and X-rays.

If you are suffering from a toothache or haven’t visited the dentist in over six months, schedule an appointment at Anderson Dental of Payson, AZ right away .

Payson Dental office !


We have happy patients.

We moved to Payson from Minneapolis two years ago and required a new dental service. We took a chance by looking in the yellow pages and found Anderson Dental. In calling they were very receptive and welcoming.

I personally required a great deal of work from total extractions and false teeth to their recommendation of saving as many teeth as possible. Anderson dental also had to work in between my personal health that ranged from Chemo and Radiation for cancer and an operation; pneumonia (2 times) and eventually a heart attack.

In between all of this Anderson was doing extractions; surgery, implants etc. We are now into this for two years and will finally be able to finish in the next month. We have worked with other dental services in Minnesota; but Anderson Dental has been just superb to work with and their prices are very fair for the services they provide.