Tooth decay, also known as dental caries, is a cavity that occurs when the enamel on your tooth’s surface breaks down. The breakdown of the enamel causes bacteria to form inside the tooth, which can lead to pain and infection. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause more serious problems like gum disease or damage to other parts of your mouth.
Dentists use a few different procedures to fix tooth decay.
Dentists use a few different procedures to fix tooth decay, depending on the severity of damage.
Fillings are the most common procedure used to fix tooth decay, but other options include root canal treatments and crowns. Fillings are temporary restorations that replace missing tooth structure and allow for long-term healing. Root canal treatments involve removing infected pulp from inside of a tooth and filling it with a filling material or an artificial substance such as gutta percha (a natural rubber compound). Crowns are made from porcelain or metal alloys that fit over your entire surface area of your damaged teeth and cover them with durable materials like gold or composite resin blends.
Before fixing decay, dentists examine the tooth’s condition.
Before fixing decay, dentists examine the tooth’s condition. During this exam, they’ll check for signs of:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease (cavities or gingivitis)
- Tooth fractures and cracks that can be caused by grinding your teeth or excessive force on the jaw during chewing or clenching your teeth (bruxism)
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
Dentists use two types of filling materials.
Dentists use two types of filling materials. The first is a tooth-colored resin made from plastic. This material is less likely to cause problems than the other type, which is a metal filling. Metal fillings are often used because they are less expensive and they can last longer than resin fillings, but they do have some potential side effects.
Metal fillings can cause irritation in your mouth if you grind your teeth at night or if you bite down too hard on food or drink (like an apple). They might also make it more difficult for dentists to do their job if they need to drill into your tooth again in the future.
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If the decay has spread to the tooth’s pulp, dentists perform a root canal treatment.
If your tooth’s pulp has become infected, or if the decay has spread beyond the pulp and into the root canal system, a dentist will perform a root canal treatment. The procedure removes all decay from inside the tooth, cleans and disinfects its internal structure, and fills it with a material that seals it off. This process can take several hours to complete but is usually painless.
Decay causes cavities, which can get deep and painful if left untreated.
Different types of tooth decay can be treated in different ways.
Cavities, which are caused by bacteria in the mouth, can be treated with a filling or a root canal. A filling is usually made out of composite resin, a material that looks and feels like natural tooth structure. Root canals remove dead tissue from inside the tooth to prevent infection and restore normal functions of your teeth.
A more serious type of decay called “crown-root” involves an infection deep inside your gum line that is painful and may cause swelling on your jawbone area if left untreated for too long (this type of infection also requires multiple appointments). Crowns cover up this painful area as well as protect it from further damage while you heal from treatment options such as: antibiotics (anti-inflammatories), steroids or other medications that control pain levels around infected areas within our mouths (gums/teeth).
You can prevent tooth decay by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
You can prevent tooth decay by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily, even if you don’t have any gum disease or loose teeth. If you smoke, quit! Smoking is one of the biggest contributors to developing cavities in your mouth because it weakens the tissues in the gums that hold teeth in place, allowing bacteria to attack them more easily.
If you want to keep your smile looking healthy, limit sugary foods and drinks—especially between meals—and avoid snacking on sticky sweets such as hard candy, which can stick around on the surface of your teeth even after brushing!
The best way to prevent tooth decay is by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. If you do develop a cavity, don’t ignore it! If left untreated, dental problems can lead to much more serious issues such as infections or even losing teeth. If you have any questions about how to keep your smile healthy, contact us today!