Dentists around the world see the destruction of dental caries inpatients mouths every day. Tooth decay is a leading cause of tooth restoration in children and a vast amount of adults. Preventative care against tooth decay is supported by routine cleaning visits. Unfortunately, many patients avoid preventative check-ups and schedule an appointment once the pain becomes intolerable.
The early stages of tooth decay begin as a small patch of softened tooth enamel. The areas largely affected are most often the ones hidden out of sight within the grooves or between teeth. Without proper dental care (a filling at this point) the dental caries works its way down to the softer inner portion of the tooth. This area (the pulp of the tooth) is where the nerves of the tooth are located. Dental caries will also attack the roots of a tooth via gum line. Gum recession often results from a part of the aging process or from poor daily brushing regimens.
RestorationProcedures to Treat Dental Caries
Fillings - When cavities are small and haven’t had the time to create excess damage or travel to the pulp of the tooth. The dentist will drill out the decay and restore the area with a filling.
Crowns -When tooth decay has had time to spread to a large portion of the tooth, or older fillings are present weakening the overall condition of the tooth, the dentist will crown or cap the tooth. The dentist will prepare the tooth and place a temporary crown over the tooth until the permanent restoration is complete. During a second dental visit, the dentist will permanently cement the crown onto the affected tooth.
Root Canal Therapy - When dental caries has traveled into the pulp are of the tooth or below the gum line to affect the roots, root canal therapy will treat the affected area. A crown is used to seal the tooth and protect the remaining tooth area from further damage.
Extraction - A dentist uses extraction as a last course of action to treat dental caries. It is always best practice to keep as much of the original tooth intact. A missing tooth can and will evolve into a new set of dental problems if the space is left empty. If extraction is a necessary course of action, a dentist will discuss replacement options to fill the gap.
Prevent Tooth Decay
Prevention is the best action to attack dental caries. There are several ways to attack tooth decay before it begins:
· Use fluorides or drink water treated with fluoride to strengthen teeth against tooth decay
· Limit sugar consumption and rinse or brush soon after consumption
· Talk to the dentist about pit and fissure sealants to protect hard to reach areas
· Don’t avoid routine cleaning appointments. The hygienists can help you become more familiar with areas you may not brush as well as others. Tartar is removed to help keep dental caries from traveling under the gum line.
· Maintain a healthy brushing regimen that includes brushing and flossing at least twice a day
Don’t avoid the dentist. Work with the entire team of professionals at Diablo Pacific Dental Group to learn how to fight back and limit or prevent the spread of dental caries. Call our office today!