Tooth decay is one of the most common and hazardous dental problems out there. Without proper dental hygiene and a suitable diet, you can easily start developing cavities on the top or sides of your teeth that can gradually progress to severe decay.
Once your teeth are decayed, they can become painful, especially if the infection reaches the inner tooth. Your teeth could also be more vulnerable to fractures, discoloration, and enamel erosion. So what can you do to prevent or halt tooth decay? Here is a look at several treatment and prevention options at your disposal.
Dental sealants and fillings
Dental sealants are protective plastic casings that are often bonded to the pits and grooves of your back teeth to prevent tooth decay and cavities. By keeping bacteria and food particles out of your tooth cusps, sealants can boost your dental hygiene and make tooth brushing much easier.
Teeth with deep and narrow fissures are often in need of urgent sealing, while cracked or misshaped teeth may also have to be sealed so that their botched surface can be repaired for easier chewing and brushing.
If cavities have already developed, dental fillings are usually recommended to halt damage to the tooth surface. Porcelain or ceramic fillings can be applied on the cavities to prevent the infiltration of bacteria and food parities into the tooth and match the natural color of your teeth. Dental fillings can also improve your chewing experience and reduce tooth sensitivity.
For extensive tooth decay that is spreading throughout your mouth, fluoride treatment could be recommended. Typically, fluoride is used to strengthen tooth enamel by re-mineralizing it so it is better able to stand up to the erosive effect of bacteria and acidic foods.
Special toothpaste with a high fluoride concentration is usually applied to your teeth for a few months to help your teeth fight decay naturally, after which you will need to continue bruising daily using conventional fluoride toothpastes. You should however be careful not to use excessive amounts of fluoride toothpaste, as it can cause tooth discoloration.
Without the above treatments, tooth decay can spread to the inner tooth, where it can infect the tooth pulp. This often results in excruciating pain and sensitivity that calls for a root canal. During this procedure, your dentist will remove infected pulp tissue and seal the tooth with a dental crown.
Tooth decay doesn't have to ruin your smile. The above measures can help halt the decay, strengthen your teeth, and prevent eventual tooth extraction that would necessitate costly reconstructive work. For more information on keeping your teeth healthy and strong, talk to a dentist like those at Family First Dentistry LLC.