How to Fill a Cavity
When someone’s tooth hurts, you do not always need to take it out. There
may be a way to treat it and keep it. Always ask yourself whether a bad
tooth really needs to come out.
This chapter is about filling cavities. Cavities are the holes that tooth decay
makes in the teeth.
From this chapter, you can learn:
• When to fill the cavity, or when
to take out the tooth.
• How to place a temporary
• How to place a permanent filling
using Atraumatic Restorative
WHEN NOT TO PLACE A FILLING
Do not fill a cavity if you think there is an abscess
in the tooth. Look for these signs of an abscess:
• The face is swollen.
• There is a gum bubble near the
root of the tooth (page 74).
• The tooth hurts constantly, even
when the person tries to sleep.
• The tooth hurts sharply when you tap it gently.
An abscess occurs when germs from tooth decay start an infection on the
inside of the tooth. If you cover up an abscess with filling material, it will
make the problem worse. Pressure builds up inside the filled tooth, causing
even more pain and swelling.
If a tooth has an abscess, take it out (see the next chapter), unless you can
give special nerve treatment (root canal treatment).