Fighting Cavities: Tooth Decay Treatments

By John Meola on July 03, 2015

A woman outdoors smilingThe team at Dental Associates of New England is committed to expert dental care. Patients throughout the Boston area can expect comprehensive general dentistry procedures focused on enhancing dental health and total wellness.

Treating tooth decay is a common thing at the practice, and while some cavities just need a filling, others require dental crowns to cap the tooth and protect it from harm. Let's consider the causes of tooth decay and the options that patients have for treatment and prevention.

About Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is caused by the bacteria that naturally occurs in the mouth. This is the same bacteria that causes bad breath and gum disease. The oral bacteria feeds on food particles in the mouth, expelling a corrosive substance in the process. Over time and with poor oral hygiene habits, this eats into the enamel of the tooth, causing a cavity to occur.

Dental Fillings for Small Cavities

The most common solution for minor cavities and small amount of tooth decay is a dental filling. These dental fillings help rebuild the lost tooth structure, keeping the tooth strong and restoring a patient's ability to bite and chew again.

Inlays and Onlays for More Serious Tooth Decay

When a traditional dental filling is not sufficient to address more serious cases of tooth decay, the next option to consider is an inlay or onlay. Inlays and onlays are used to restore larger sections of tooth structure that have been damaged or decayed. The inlays and onlays are strong enough to restore even the biting surfaces (cusps) of a patient's teeth.

Dental Crowns for Major Tooth Decay

For extensive tooth decay that has damaged a tooth, the ideal option for saving the tooth is to use a dental crown. Dental crowns are used to cap a tooth that has been seriously damaged, protecting it from harm and allowing a patient to bite and chew normally as well.

Root Canal Treatment and Tooth Extraction

When major tooth decay has caused a tooth to become infected (i.e., bacteria has breached the enamel and dentin layers), a root canal can be performed in order to remove the infected dental pulp, sterilize the hollow chamber within the tooth, and restore a patient's ability to bite and chew.

In some major cases of tooth decay, a tooth may be beyond saving. In those cases, the ideal treatment option involves the extraction of the tooth. Once the tooth is removed, a dentist can consider options for tooth replacement, such as a dental bridge.

Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay and Cavities

To prevent tooth decay from occurring, consider the following tips:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day (best option: brush after every meal)
  • Floss your teeth every night (best option: floss after every meal)
  • Avoid snacking on sugary foods
  • Avoid drinking soda and sugary beverages
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups

Schedule a Consultation at Dental Associates of New England

For more information about treating tooth decay and how our team can help you, it's important that you contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at Dental Associates of New England will help you have the healthiest and most beautiful smile possible.

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