Tooth decay is the biggest threat to your teeth. Once your teeth have become affected by tooth decay, they will continue to decay until they eventually fall out. That is, unless the decayed tooth is treated by a dentist. Dentists are like superheroes that are constantly fighting the evil villain of tooth decay. In order to protect you from tooth decay, there are various strategies your general dentist can employ to treat tooth decay, including:
Simply stated, tooth decay is caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque and tartar. To combat this, your dentist will recommend two teeth cleanings per year. Professional teeth cleanings use specialized tools to remove both plaque and tartar from the outer surface of the tooth. This decreases the overall bacterial population in your mouth and decreases the risk of developing tooth decay. While this method is not airtight by any means, having teeth cleanings twice a year has been shown to decrease the risk of tooth decay significantly.
Dental sealants are thin coatings of composite resin that are painted over the molar grooves in order to seal the tooth and prevent bacteria from coming into contact with the enamel. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth in children and adults that struggle with maintaining a proper dental routine.
In cases where minor decay has started to develop, a dental filling may be necessary. When placing a dental filling, your general dentist will first remove all the decayed tissue and clean the area to prevent future decay. Then they will fill the remaining cavity. There are different dental materials that can be used to fill a cavity, including amalgam (metal), gold, and composite resin. Nowadays, most dentists opt for composite fillings, but there may still be cases where a metal filling is preferred.
Inlays and onlays are large fillings. Unlike composite fillings, which are a direct restoration completed entirely inside the mouth, Inlays and Onlays are indirect restorations and are fabricated in a dental lab. Inlays are used to restore a decayed area on the top surface of the teeth and onlays are found on the top of the tooth, but include one or more of the tooth’s cusps, or points.
For cases where tooth decay is significant and covers more than ¾ of the tooth, your dentist will often recommend a root canal. During a root canal, your dental pulp is completely removed to alleviate the current infection and prevent any future pulp infections
As you can see, there are a variety of ways your general dentist can go about treating your dental decay. The severity of your case will depend on the extent of the decay. The right method for you will be determined by the location, extent of decay, and your budget. Therefore, you should discuss your options with your local general dentist.
Dr. Jonathan McCartney received his doctorate from Case Western Dental School. After a few years of practicing in another dental office, Dr. McCartney’s goal was to create an environment for his patients that combines the most advanced dental technology with gentle, affordable, individualized care. The end result of this goal is McCartney Dental, a state of the art North Port modern dental practice.