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Montreal Smiles®

Cavities: Treating and Preventing Tooth Decay

By Roni S. Berbari, DMD on July 11, 2015

A tooth in a blue circlePatients who visit Montreal Smiles know that they will receive the latest in restorative dentistry treatments to enhance dental health as well as cosmetic procedures to improve smile aesthetics. The cornerstone of this state-of-the-art dental care, however, is still the proper treatment and prevention of cavities. Let's take this opportunity to consider the causes of cavities and the most common treatment options for them.

What are cavities?

Cavities are caused by oral bacteria that naturally occurs in the mouth. This bacteria feeds on food particles in the mouth, creating an acidic discharge in the process. This acidity eats into the tooth's structure, starting with the topmost enamel layer and then working down to the dentin layer and into the pulp chamber.

In order to avoid serious dental health issues, there are many restorative treatments to consider for cavities.

Dental Fillings for Minor Tooth Decay

For minor cavities and tooth decay, the ideal option to consider is a dental filling. Dental fillings are small restorations that replace and rebuild compromised tooth structure. The dental filling seals the cavity and prevents further damage to the tooth structure in the process.

Inlays and Onlays for More Severe Tooth Decay

When a traditional dental filling isn't enough to restore a decayed tooth, the next best option to consider is an inlay or onlay. Inlays and onlays restore larger sections of damaged tooth structure, including the cusps (biting surfaces) of the teeth.

Dental Crowns to Treat Major Tooth Decay

When a tooth is too fargone to be treated using inlays and onlays, the next best restoration option is a dental crown. The crown will cap the damaged tooth, restoring its strength and ability to bite while also protecting it from further harm. The crown is the last kind of restoration that will be used.

Root Canal Therapy for Treating Infected Teeth

Sometimes the tooth decay will extend into the interior structure of the tooth into the pulp chamber, where soft tissue known as dental pulp is located. If this soft tissue becomes infected, it can be extremely painful. The infection may spread and result in an abscess and the spread of the infection to other parts of the mouth.

In such cases, root canal therapy is performed. Root canal therapy will involve the removal of the soft tissue within the tooth, the sterilization of the pulp chamber, and the filling of the tooth with a sturdy inert material. This saves the tooth from extraction and improves the overall health of a patient's mouth.

Tooth Extraction When Teeth Cannot Be Saved

If a tooth is too decayed that it is not possible to save it, the best option to consider is extraction. Tooth extraction means removing the tooth and its root structure, leaving a gap behind. Your dentist can discuss your options for replacing the missing tooth or teeth in more detail during your dental visit.

Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay

In order to prevent tooth decay, consider the following common sense tips:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
  • Floss your teeth at least once a night (ideally after every meal)
  • Avoid snacking on sugary foods
  • Avoid drinking sodas and sugary beverages
  • Refrain from using tobacco products
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups and appointments

Learn More About Treating Cavities

To schedule a dental visit and learn about all of your options for treating and preventing cavities, it's important that you contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. We look forward to your visit and helping you have the healthiest and most beautiful smile possible.

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