Different Treatments for Tooth Decay
Burton Gooch, DDS is one of the leading dental experts serving the greater Birmingham area, offering advanced general dentistry services to improve the overall health and wellness of patients. One of the cornerstones of general dental care is treating and preventing tooth decay of various degrees. Let's take a moment to consider the causes and common treatments of tooth decay.
The Causes of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is the result of oral bacteria in the mouth feeding on food particles on or between teeth, When oral bacteria does this, it creates an acidic substance that eats into the enamel layers of a tooth. When this happens, a tooth is weakened, resulting in greater likelihood of chips and cracks as well as discoloration and various aesthetic flaws.
Dental Fillings for Treating Minor and Basic Cavities
For basic cavities and minor tooth decay, a dental filling is a great option to consider. Dental fillings will rebuild small portions of damaged tooth structure, improving the overall health of a tooth and allowing patients to bite and chew as they normally would.
Dental fillings come in metal and tooth-colored forms. The ideal option will depend on the tooth that has the cavity and the dental health goals of the patient.
Inlays and Onlays for More Serious Tooth Decay
When the tooth decay is more severe, a traditional dental filling will just not cut it. In those cases, the best option to consider is an inlay or onlay. Inlays and onlays are larger dental restorations that can rebuild more of a tooth's natural structure, including the cusps (biting surfaces) of a tooth.
Tooth-colored inlays and onlays are more common for the front teeth, whereas metal inlays and onlays are most ideal for the molars and pre-molars.
Dental Crowns for Major Tooth Decay
When a tooth is extremely damaged or decayed, the best option to consider for optimal care is a dental crown. Dental crowns are used to cap a tooth, protecting it from sensations of pain or discomfort and restoring a person's ability to bite and chew in the process.
As with inlays and onlays, tooth-colored crowns are most ideal for the front teeth while metal crowns are most commonly used for the molars and pre-molars.
Root Canal Therapy to Treat Infected Teeth
If a tooth has experienced significant tooth decay, the interior pulp of the tooth may be infected. In order to save the tooth and relieve the pain associated with a tooth infection, a root canal is performed. This treatment involves the removal of the soft tissue within the tooth and the sterilization of the internal pulp chamber. The hollowed-out pulp chamber is filled with and inert material in order to ensure the tooth is strong and able to bite and chew with full strength and durability.
Tooth Extraction for Severe Cases of Tooth Decay
When a tooth is too decayed to be saved, the ideal treatment option is to extract the tooth. This will prevent infection, alleviate pain, and open up opportunities for other dental treatments to be performed. You can discuss your various options for replacing missing teeth in more detail during your dental visit.
Schedule a Consultation for Treating Tooth Decay
For more information about tooth decay treatments and how they can help you have a healthy and beautiful smile, it's important that you contact our advanced dental care team today. Dr. Gooch and his entire team look forward to your visit and helping you have a smile that is beautiful as well as healthy.