You Know the Drill: The Cavity Filling Quiz
by Staff
It seems that everyone has had a cavity filled -- whether they care to admit it or not. But how much do you know about the process and its history? Time for a drill (pun intended).

Dentists -- whether they called them dentists or not -- have been drilling teeth for how long?

  • decades
  • centuries
  • millennia

The 7,000-year-old teeth discovered by archaeologists were actually found where?

  • in a graveyard
  • in a landfill
  • soaking in salt water

True or False: The teeth with drill holes discovered in the graveyard were bicuspids.

  • TRUE

It's believed that the ancient dentists drilled the teeth because:

  • they wanted to stop further decay
  • they were trying to ward off evil spirits
  • we don't really know why they were drilled

True or False: Drilling may have started thousands of years ago, but cavity filling only began in the last century.

  • TRUE

In the early 1800s, dentists would create a filling by:

  • taking a pellet from their ammunition stash
  • rolling a substance between their fingers
  • spitting in the mud

True or False: One of the most commonly used substances for fillings was soft wood.

  • TRUE

What were some of the substances that were initially used for fillings?

  • tin and lead
  • lead and aluminum
  • all of the above (and more)

True or False: Even asbestos was sometimes used as a filling in the early days.

  • TRUE

The benefit of using a soft substance for fillings is that it can be easily molded. What's the downside?

  • they make a squishy sound
  • they make a man soft, too
  • they don't last

True or False: Fillings that match the color of your existing teeth are the best quality.

  • TRUE

The cost of different types of fillings:

  • doesn't vary
  • can have an impact on your pocketbook
  • is covered by your insurance regardless

Most insurance companies use this substance as the baseline for what they're willing to cover:

  • silver
  • gold
  • diamond
  • flubber

The side effects of choosing one cavity filling substance over another are:

  • financial and, potentially, physical in nature
  • financial in nature
  • physical in nature

When you go in to have a cavity filled, a dentist will typically:

  • give you a menu, and ask you what substance you'd like put in the cavity
  • tell you that you have to use the substance he wants
  • not discuss the material to be put into your cavity

True or False: All fillings last 20 to 30 years.

  • TRUE

Composite fillings are usually this color:

  • a hazy shade of winter
  • a whiter shade of pale
  • the color of your existing teeth
  • yellow

Silver fillings are known for:

  • picking up AM radio signals
  • causing extensive health problems
  • being cost effective and lasting a decade or more

True or False: The FDA doesn't bother itself with issuing statements about fillings.

  • TRUE

True or False: The dentistry profession, unfortunately, hasn't had many advances.

  • TRUE