Dental decay occurs when acids in the mouth demineralize the tooth material. The acids are often byproducts of bacterial digestion. Oral bacteria feed on simple sugars from carbohydrates that you have ingested. As the microbes digest the sugar, they release waste, including acid that dissolves the tooth enamel. As the demineralization worsens, holes form in the affected teeth. These holes, which are also called cavities, must be treated to prevent the continued decay and eventual loss of the teeth.
Here are a few of the dental services used to treat tooth decay.
Dentists apply fillings to fill the holes in a tooth. Before applying a filling, they remove the decaying portions of the tooth, using a gentle drill. Fillings can typically be used alone to fill small cavities and may be made of various dental materials, such as gold, silver amalgam, composite, and glass ionomer. Dentists frequently suggest tooth-colored materials for permanent teeth because of their aesthetic appeal.
A dental crown is a hollow tooth-shaped cap that is placed over the natural crown of a tooth. The crown, which may also be called a cap not only protects the tooth from additional decay but also fortifies the remaining tooth material.
Dental crowns are often used in conjunction with dental fillings to treat large cavities. When a large cavity has formed in a tooth, the tooth structure may be weakened and require further fortification. In some instances, there may be too little tooth material to hold the filling in place without the support of a crown.
Root Canal Procedures
Dental decay may breach the enamel and dentin of the tooth, reaching the dental pulp. The enamel is the hard, outermost layer of tooth material. The dentin is the secondary layer and is made of a dull, porous material. The deepest layer of the tooth lies at its center and is called the pulp. This layer houses the dental nerves and the blood supply of the tooth.
When decay reaches the pulp, the pulp (along with the dental nerves) may become inflamed, causing severe tooth pain. To treat the decayed tooth and alleviate the pain, the dentist may perform a root canal procedure, where they extract the pulp from the tooth. Once the pulp is removed, the tooth's interior is cleaned and disinfected. Subsequently, the dentist fills the tooth and applies a dental crown.
If you are suffering from tooth decay, contact a local dental service.