One of the most often performed procedures in general dentistry today is repair of cavities (dental caries) caused by decay of the tooth enamel. This decay may be caused by bacterial generation of acids from food particles not removed by brushing or flossing, or by erosion of the enamel by acidic soft drinks. This decay is predominately confined to the outer enamel of the tooth. Should the decay reach the interior of the tooth, the dentine, severe infection can occur resulting in abscesses or tooth loss. This infection may be accompanied by the symptom of severe pain, known as a toothache.
There are several options which your dentist may elect to utilize for the repair of the erosion of the enamel.
The most simple would be by the use of a fluoride treatment which might be used in the case of slight tooth decay. Fluoride treatment assists your body in the strengthening of tooth enamel against attack by acids.
The next option would be the filling of the cavity with another substance, such as amalgam or a composite resin. For over 150 years the most common filling material has been amalgam, a mixture of mercury with silver and other metals. These are commonly known as silver fillings because of their appearance. Amalgam fillings have been replaced as the filling of choice by resin fillings. There are several reasons for the change. As the temperature in your mouth changes, such as being caused by a hot or cold drink, the tooth enamel and the amalgam expand at different rates. Over a period of time, the filling might crack or fracture the tooth, or allow bacteria to get below the filling causing additional decay. Resin composites have nearly same expansion rate as the tooth minimizing the possibility of structural damage. An esthetic reason for the change to resins is that resin fillings are virtually translucent and assume the natural color of the tooth.
A third option, should the situation require it, would be the placement of a crown or “cap” over the tooth. The purpose of the crown is to provide a restoration of the outer enamel thereby strengthening the tooth. Crowns, which are typically constructed of porcelain, are esthetic matches for adjacent teeth. The color of the crown can very closely match the color of natural teeth within the mouth. The crown is held in place by cementing it over the upper portion of the existing tooth.
When a tooth needs saving from being pulled, is becoming abscessed, or would fall out a root canal is used. Every tooth has three parts; first the outer layer that we see is called the tooth. There is a softer layer referred to as the dentin located in the middle of the tooth. Then there is an innermost part of the tooth where there are the nerves, blood, and life-sustaining function, this is referred to as the pulp. When the pulp becomes damaged or infected the tooth starts to die and serious complications can occur. Even when a tooth is dead it can be restored to its normal functions and cosmetic appearance through a variety of cosmetic and/or general dentistry procedures that are geared towards preventing the loss of the tooth and the infection from returning once again. Although general dentistry is a great way to treat the medical condition cosmetic dentistry is designed to improve the appearance of teeth and improve the medical condition as well.
Please call us locally in the Houston area at 713-795-5905, or toll-free at 888-790-0309. A qualified member of our staff will get with you momentarily and assist you with resolving any need you might have.
Learn what to expect during general dentistry procedures by visiting the video gallery, click here.