Cavities are small holes that form on the tooth and are caused by tooth decay. They form when bacteria-rich plaque builds up on a tooth and combines with sugars in food you eat. The action of the bacteria eating the sugars produces an acid that can eat away at the enamel of the tooth, the bacteria can eventually cause an infection in the tooth. Cavities can be prevented by brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups, but left untreated, a cavity will lead to more serious oral health problems.
Cavities are most often treated with fillings. A filling is synthetic material that your dentist uses to patch a cavity after removing all the tooth decay. To keep you comfortable during your filling procedure, your dentist will numb the tooth needing treatment with an anesthetic. Materials that dentists use for fillings include: silver amalgam, ceramic, gold, and composite resins. Tooth colored dental fillings are made out of ceramic or composite resins. If you require a filling, be sure to discuss with your doctor what material is best for you and your smile.