Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems that dentists face. In fact, the team at Central Dental Care treats tooth decay on a daily basis. As one of the leading general dentistry practices in Jefferson City, we pride ourselves on our ability to address a whole host of dental problems using advanced care.
With this in mind, let's look at the basics of tooth decay and discuss the various ways that it can be treated.
Tooth decay refers to the damage done to the tooth enamel as a result of oral bacteria. The oral bacteria naturally occurs in the mouth and feeds on food particles, particularly sugars and other kinds of carbs. In the process, the oral bacteria creates an acidic substance that eats into the tooth, resulting in damage.
For minor cavities, dental fillings are generally the ideal treatment option to consider. These are small restorations that come in metal or composite material form and help fill in small areas of tooth decay.
As with the other dental restorations we'll discuss, fillings are placed in order to rebuild the damaged tooth structure so patients can bite and chew without potentially doing additional damage to their teeth.
When a standard dental filling is not sufficient for addressing a patient's tooth decay, the next option to consider is an inlay or onlay. Inlays and onalys are able to rebuild more tooth structure than a standard filling, including the cusps (biting surfaces) of teeth.
When a tooth is severely decayed but there is still enough healthy structure that can be saved, the ideal restoration to consider is a dental crown. Crowns are used to cap teeth that have been severely damaged, protecting the last of the tooth structure from harm and restoring the ability to bite and chew in the process.
If the patient's tooth decay progresses too far and results in infection of the tooth or an abscess, the ideal treatment option is a root canal. During a root canal, the infected soft tissue within the tooth (known as dental pulp) is removed and the pulp chamber is sterilized. The hollow interior of the tooth is filled with an inert material. A dental crown is then placed in order to protect the remaining tooth structure.
During extreme cases of tooth decay in which the tooth cannot be saved, extraction is an ideal option to consider. In these cases, the use of a bridge or other appliance to fill the tooth gap can be considered.
In order to prevent tooth decay, consider the following tips for good oral hygiene:
If you would like to learn more about treating cavities and preventing tooth decay, we encourage you to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team here at Central Dental Care looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you have a smile that's healthy and beautiful.