Do minor cavities need to be filled?

Do minor cavities need to be filled?

Cavities are a common dental problem that affect people of all ages. While it is important to address cavities to prevent further damage to your teeth, you may wonder if minor cavities really need to be filled. In this article, we will explore the reasons for filling minor cavities, the consequences of not filling them, and what to expect during the filling process.

Should Small Cavities be Filled?

The short answer is yes, minor cavities should be filled. A cavity is a small hole in the tooth that is caused by tooth decay. If left untreated, a cavity can grow larger and eventually reach the inner pulp of the tooth, leading to infection and even tooth loss.

The decision to fill a cavity depends on the severity of the decay. If the cavity is minor and caught early, it can be filled with a simple dental filling. However, if the decay is more extensive, it may require a more involved dental procedure, such as a root canal.

Consequences of Not Filling Minor Cavities

If left untreated, a minor cavity can lead to serious dental problems, including:

  • Tooth Decay: Minor cavities can quickly grow into larger ones, causing more tooth decay and damage to the tooth structure.

  • Tooth Sensitivity: Cavities can cause tooth sensitivity, making it difficult to eat and drink hot or cold foods and beverages.

  • Toothache: An untreated cavity can cause a toothache, which can be severe and make it difficult to sleep, eat, or concentrate.

  • Infection: If the decay reaches the inner pulp of the tooth, it can lead to infection, which can spread to other teeth and even the gums and jawbone.

  • Tooth Loss: In severe cases, an untreated cavity can lead to tooth loss, which can affect your ability to speak and eat properly and impact your self-confidence.

Filling Minor Cavities

If you have a minor cavity, your dentist may recommend a dental filling. The process typically involves the following steps:

  • Numbing the Area: Your dentist will numb the area around the affected tooth using a local anesthetic.

  • Removing the Decay: Your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth using a drill or laser.

  • Cleaning the Tooth: Your dentist will clean the tooth to remove any remaining debris or bacteria.

  • Filling the Cavity: Your dentist will fill the cavity with a dental filling material, such as composite resin, amalgam, or porcelain.

  • Shaping and Polishing the Filling: Your dentist will shape and polish the filling to match the natural shape and color of your tooth.

Comparison Table

Here is a comparison table of the different types of dental filling materials:

Filling Material



Composite Resin

Matches the color of your tooth

May wear down or chip over time


Strong and long-lasting

Can be visible on the tooth


Durable and long-lasting

Expensive and may not match the natural teeth


Resistant to staining and chipping

Requires multiple visits to the dentist


Q: Can minor cavities go away on their own?

A: No, cavities cannot go away on their own. If left untreated, they can grow larger and cause more damage to the tooth.

Q: Are dental fillings painful?

A: The filling process itself should not be painful, as your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area. However, you may experience some sensitivity or discomfort after the filling is placed.

Q: How long do dental fillings last?

A: The lifespan of a dental filling depends on the type of filling material used, as well as how well you take care of your teeth. Composite resin fillings typically last 5-7 years, while amalgam fillings can last up to 15 years. Gold and porcelain fillings can last even longer, up to 20-30 years or more.

Q: Can I eat and drink normally after a filling?

A: Yes, you can eat and drink normally after a filling. However, it is recommended that you wait until the numbness wears off before eating or drinking anything hot, as you may accidentally burn your mouth.

Q: How can I prevent cavities?

A: The best way to prevent cavities is to practice good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings. You can also reduce your risk of cavities by limiting your intake of sugary and acidic foods and beverages.


In conclusion, minor cavities should be filled to prevent further damage to your teeth and to avoid serious dental problems such as tooth decay, tooth sensitivity, toothache, infection, and tooth loss. If you have a minor cavity, your dentist may recommend a dental filling, which involves numbing the area, removing the decay, cleaning the tooth, filling the cavity, and shaping and polishing the filling to match the natural shape and color of your tooth. The type of filling material used will depend on your individual needs and preferences, and your dentist can help you make an informed decision. By practicing good oral hygiene habits and visiting your dentist regularly, you can reduce your risk of cavities and maintain healthy teeth and gums for years to come.

Further Reading

If you would like to learn more about cavities and dental fillings, here are some recommended resources:

We hope that this article has been informative and helpful in answering your questions about minor cavities and dental fillings. If you have any further questions or concerns, please consult with your dentist or dental professional.

Will Sonza
Will Sonza

Amateur food nerd. Devoted internet specialist. Hardcore music fan. Award-winning web trailblazer. Extreme internet specialist.

Leave Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *