In modern cosmetic dentistry, there is a solution for just about any common problem. So the good news is your dentist can treat tooth decay. If caught early, the process is reversible. The treatment, costs, and time depend entirely on the severity of decay.
Tooth decay usually presents itself as a cavity. It is the result of bacteria causing the enamel on your teeth to break down. When you consume sugars and starches bacteria in your mouth break them down and produce an acid. Over time, this acid causes tooth decay.
Your body combats these acids with saliva and fluoride. They replace dissolved minerals and repair enamel. Combined with proper brushing this can effectively keep the harmful bacteria at bay. But if the balance is thrown off, such as drinking lots of soda or a high sugar diet, your body has a harder time keeping up.
The first symptom of this is white spots on the teeth. If your dentist catches the problem at this stage it is completely reversible. Reducing sugars and starches in your diet and adding proper dental hygiene, including fluoride toothpaste is often enough. Dentists may also provide a fluoride gel to help repair enamel.
If tooth decay progresses beyond this, permanent damage is likely, and cosmetic or restorative dentistry is required.
Once a cavity forms in the tooth, the damage is too severe for it to heal itself. Fortunately, a small cavity is easy to heal. The dentist uses a filling to fill the hole and prevent it from growing larger. Fillings are commonly made of tooth-coloured composite or glass ionomer materials.
If a cavity is not treated it will continue to decay. Eventually, this causes a structural collapse. Your tooth cannot naturally recover from this and you may need a dental crown or dental onlay put in. The crown restores the tooth shape and size, making it stronger and more aesthetic. Without a crown, eating can become painful, and the damage will worsen.
If the decay spreads further you may end up with an abscessed tooth. This occurs where the infection spreads all the way down to the nerve of the tooth. Once this occurs you will require either a root canal or to remove the tooth.
A root canal is your last chance to save the tooth. It is a fast and common procedure that relieves pain. The dentist removes the damaged pulp from the tooth, then fills and seals it. After a root canal, the tooth is more fragile, and will likely require a crown.
If the tooth is too far gone it will need to be removed. Once you remove the tooth you need to do something to fill the gap. A missing tooth allows other teeth to shift. Bridges or dental implants are common cosmetic dental solutions.
Preventing tooth decay requires keeping the damage from mouth bacteria at bay. For day to day care, this is possible through a balanced diet and good oral hygiene habits. Drink water with fluoride and brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Long term, you need preventative care.
Preventative dental care is an essential part of maintaining overall health. It makes it possible for your dentist to recognize and treat issues before they become a problem. As well, they can take preventative measures with fluoride treatments or dental sealants.
A dental sealant is a good preventative measure for molars. The molars are more vulnerable to cavities because their surfaces are uneven. It’s easy for bacteria to become trapped in rough sections of the tooth and develop into a cavity, and it’s harder to brush it out. A sealant smooths the area, preventing bacteria from getting stuck.
Our Yorkville dental clinic is readily equipped to treat tooth decay and cavities. Book an appointment today. Don’t delay treating tooth decay!
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