Detecting a dental cavity early can help protect your oral health care
Tooth decay is a disease caused by bacteria. Once you have been exposed to the bacteria that cause tooth decay, you may be prone to a dental cavity. When tooth decay does occur, it is highly important to remove the decay, clean the tooth and repair it. If caught in the early stages, the impacts of tooth decay can be more easily mitigated and, very often, the small cavities that may have formed can be treated with a simple dental filling.
Left unchecked, tooth decay can impact the health of your teeth
Here’s how tooth decay damages your teeth.
- It starts with plaque. Bacteria is present in everyone’s mouth and, like many of us, it loves sugar. When bacteria feeds off sugar, it produces acid which turns into plaque.
- The acidic plaque erodes your tooth’s enamel, effectively breaching the protective outer shell and allowing bacteria to reach the next layer of your tooth, the dentin. This is the first stage of a cavity.
- As with most maintenance issues, ignoring tooth decay and cavities will, more often than not, grow into bigger problems. If a dental cavity is left untreated, bacteria can invade the root of your tooth causing infection of the soft pulp that houses nerves and blood vessels. This can lead to:
- an abscess
- the need for more invasive treatment such as a root canal.
Luckily, there are dental treatment options to repair a dental cavity and restore your oral health
This is where the regular visits to your Red Deer dentists Dr. Sandhu and Dr. Saby to check for cavities and other oral health problems comes in. Dr. Sandhu and Dr. Saby have many options available to help treat your dental cavities.
Here are the four main types of dental fillings, and how they are most commonly used:
- Gold fillings. Gold is a very strong dental filling material. Gold fillings are “cast” in a dental lab. These fillings are very precise and strong. They have been used successfully in dentistry for over 100 years. You also get a very precise fit and super-tight seal with a gold filling. While gold does not match the colour of your natural teeth, many people find gold fillings attractive in the back teeth. Gold is initially a more expensive dental filling material, but their long-term durability makes them cost effective option in the end.
- Porcelain inlays: Porcelain is dentistry’s attempt to combine the benefits of gold with the appeal of white. Porcelain inlays are also created in a dental lab making them less likely to break down over time. Porcelain is a longer term solution than a composite filling, but not as long-lasting as gold because the interface is done with resin.
- White fillings: White dental fillings are made of a composite resin that can be colour-matched to your natural teeth. The advantages of white dental filling are:
- They are natural looking.
- Sometimes less tooth structure needs to be removed when preparing the tooth.
- Composite fillings may also be used to repair broken, worn or chipped teeth.
White fillings are best suited for front tooth restorations due to their aesthetic appeal – they can match the colour of your existing teeth. Because of this, they are the most commonly used dental restoration today. Composite fillings are less durable than gold or amalgam fillings making them best suited for the front teeth, where biting forces are not as great.
- Amalgam fillings. Also known as metal fillings, these tooth fillings have been the go-to cavity treatment for decades. They are strong, long-lasting and cost-effective. Because the metal colour is less aesthetically appealing, they are often best suited to fill cavities in your back teeth. While they are cost effective, they are less in demand these days because of concerns about toxicity. Amalgam fillings can also break down over time. An additional downside is, because metal expands and contracts with heat and cold, they can crack teeth.
What’s your best dental filling material?
While all the dental filling materials listed above are safe, you’ll need the help of your dentist Dr Saby to choose the best one for a particular circumstance. Whether you need to check for a dental cavity or you need a replacement filling, your dentist has your back – oral health-wise.