Tooth decay is a common problem, but regular checkups and prompt treatment will help you avoid complications that will no doubt occur if you delay going to the dentist.
And there’s a built-in bonus for being prompt: The earlier you treat decay, the less it will cost.
If a tooth is bothering you, a cosmetic dentist at Ridgewood Dental Associates can determine if you have tooth decay and what treatment would be appropriate. Treatment for decay varies according to how severe the tooth has been damaged.
Top treatments for tooth decay include:
Dental fillings are the treatment of choice for minor cavities when tooth decay is caught at an early stage. The decay is removed, usually with a drill, and replaced with a filling that restores the shape of the tooth and prevents further decay.
Fillings can be made of a variety of materials, including:
- Silver Amalgam
- Composite Resin
Each filling material has advantages and disadvantages, depending on the cavity and its location, which your dentist will explain.
Inlays and Onlays
If decay has spread to a large portion of the tooth’s crown, then inlays or onlays will be needed. Inlays and onlays are similar to fillings except they are larger and stronger, making them ideal for larger cavities. Unlike a filling, inlays and onlays restore the tooth’s structure and strength.
Treatment involves removing the decay. Then, an impression of the tooth is made to create the replacement inlay or onlay, which will be custom-crafted in a lab. A temporary filling will protect the treated tooth until the inlay or onlay can be bonded to the tooth.
- Inlay. Replaces damaged areas in the middle of the tooth crown.
- Onlay. Replaces tooth damage that includes the upper ridges, the cusps.
With extensive decay, dental crowns will be needed. A crown covers the entire tooth, sealing it and providing strength while protecting it from further decay. Crowns can be made from a variety of materials, but many people choose tooth-colored porcelain, which lets the repaired tooth blend in with neighboring teeth.
Treatment involves removing the decay, then shaping the tooth to allow the crown to slip over it. An impression of the reshaped tooth is taken to create the custom crown. Once prepared, the crown is bonded to the tooth, encasing it.
Root Canal Therapy
When decay reaches the interior of the tooth, a root canal treatment is performed to save the tooth, preventing the need for extraction. In root canal therapy, the tooth’s root is removed and the interior tooth sterilized. The tooth is then filled and sealed. In many cases, the tooth will require a dental crown to protect and strengthen it.
Tooth decay does not always announce itself. Sometimes symptoms will not develop until decay has reached an advanced stage, which is why it is important to visit your dentist regularly. Tooth decay is much easier - and less costly - to treat when it is caught early.
If you are concerned about tooth decay, Ridgewood Dental Associates have comprehensive restorative and general dentistry treatments and a team of doctors: Drs. Jin Ha Joung, Mark Samani, Min-Hee Cho, and Miles Lazerwitz.
Please call today for an appointment.