Treatment Options for Tooth Decay
By Patrick Casey on May 01, 2015
Tooth decay is a common dental condition, one that most patients will develop at some point in their lives. Tooth decay occurs when the acid emitted by plaque bacteria eat away at the surface of the tooth (the enamel), penetrating into the deeper structures of the tooth (the dentin and root canals). Tooth decay is most often caused by poor dental hygiene. When patients do not brush and floss away plaque, the material hardens into tartar, which is difficult to remove with at-home care. This plaque and tartar attract bacteria, which produce decay-causing acids. Tooth decay can also result from injury. If a tooth is fractured or chipped, bacteria can work their way into the inner structures of the teeth, compromising their health. Drs. Charles Casey and Patrick Casey offer a number of effective restorative dentistry treatments for tooth decay. To learn more about tooth decay treatment, contact Smile Montreal today.
Treating the Infection
Tooth decay creates cavities, or hollow spaces, within a tooth. These cavities weaken the tooth, making it more susceptible to breakage. To address this problem, dentists must first remove all signs of tooth decay and infection from the tooth. This involves the use of a drill or laser, which removes all of the damaged parts of the tooth. To keep patients comfortable during this process, a numbing agent such as Novocaine is administered.
Restoring the Tooth
To maintain the structure of the tooth, the dentist will then fill the cavity with a durable dental material. Our dentists can replace the lost tooth structure with:
- Dental fillings: We use tooth-colored composite resin to fill in the tooth structure that was lost to decay. Composite resin is considered to be the best filling material because it is durable and does not affect the appearance of the tooth. In the past, silver amalgam was used to fill cavities. However, the color of this material contrasts with the teeth, and it expands and contracts in response to temperature changes, increasing the risk of tooth fractures.
- Inlays and onlays: Unlike dental fillings, which are applied and hardened directly onto the tooth, inlays and onlays are fabricated in a dental lab. These porcelain restorations are custom made to replace lost tooth structure on the biting surface of the pre-molars or molars. After cleaning out the infection, we will take impressions of the teeth so lab technicians can craft the inlays and onlays. Once they are ready, they are cemented onto the teeth.
- Dental crowns: If you have large cavities that have significantly weakened your tooth, we may place a dental crown, which completely encapsulates the tooth. Like inlays and onlays, crowns are custom-made in a lab. They will fit over your tooth, helping it to withstand the daily pressures of biting, talking, and chewing.
- Root canal therapy: If decay reaches the root canals of your teeth, we will drill a hole in the tooth to access the root canals. Then, we will clean out the canals with special file instruments, and fill the canals with gutta percha. Then, we will cap the tooth with a dental crown.
To schedule an appointment at Smile Montreal, contact us today.
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“I felt more like I was talking to a friend than I was to a dentist.” Nancy Lanzolla, Former Patient