Tooth decay is one of the most common oral health problems across the world. Globally, it affects two billion people, and the prevalence of oral health disease is increasing by the year.
Poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of tooth decay. Improper or inadequate brushing can lead to the build-up of plaque. Over time, built-up plaque can cause the hard enamel coating around the teeth to break down.
Luckily, there are treatment options for tooth decay, including implant overdentures, fillings, crowns, and tooth extraction. In this article, we’re going to cover the most common treatment options so you can decide which is the most appropriate for your needs. First, let’s cover the causes of tooth decay.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay, according to the best cosmetic dentist in Irvine, is also known as dental caries or cavities. As we mentioned above, the most common cause is poor oral hygiene, but what does this actually involve?
A proper oral hygiene routine involves brushing your teeth with natural toothpaste at least twice a day, flossing, and using mouthwash. While many people don’t floss or use mouthwash and do not develop tooth decay, failing to brush your teeth every day can significantly increase your risk of cavities.
A poor oral hygiene routine enables bacteria to build up around the gums and on the teeth. Over time, if the bacteria are not removed, they can start to eat away at the enamel on the teeth. Enamel plays a protective role and if it begins to break down, it leaves the tooth below vulnerable to decay and infection.
Consuming a diet that is high in sugar can also increase the risk of tooth decay. When the teeth are coated with sugar, it provides more fuel for the bacteria in your mouth, enabling them to grow more quickly. This eventually leads to a build-up of plaque, again, enamel breakdown.
What Are the Treatment Options for Tooth Decay?
Here are the most common treatments for those with tooth decay.
- Implant overdentures
Overdentures fit over your natural teeth. They are held in place by the tooth root or by dental implants. They’re similar to implant bridges but are removable, making them a more popular choice.
Implant overdentures preserve as much of your teeth as possible and support the natural structures of your jaw. They don’t easily come loose like other tooth decay treatment options, so you can guarantee years of maximum comfort and functionality.
This type of dental procedure is undertaken using local anesthetic with the option of added oral or intravenous sedation. The implants are added into the jaw bone, often using guided imaging techniques. Once the procedure has been completed, the incision around the jaw will be closed with stitches.
- Dental fillings
Dental fillings are one of the less invasive ways to treat tooth decay. After a dental x-ray to confirm the presence of cavities or decay, the dentist can assess how many fillings are needed.
A dental filling procedure involves numbing the area and using a specialized tool called a dental drill to remove decayed tissue. The hole that is left after this removal process is filled using a dental filling. It’s relatively quick and simple procedure with long-lasting benefits.
There are several different colors to choose from, but the most common options are silver or tooth-colored resin fillings.
- Dental crowns
A dental crown is another common dentistry procedure. It’s sometimes called a dental cap and it’s a form of dental restoration that can either completely replace the decayed tooth or encircle an existing dental implant.
During a dental crown procedure, a tooth-shaped cap is fixed over the affected tooth or teeth. It can improve the appearance of your smile as well as the strength and functionality of your jaw.
The crown is cemented into place to ensure it doesn’t easily come loose. The tooth underneath isn’t visible through the crown as the cement fills right down to the gum line.
- Tooth extraction
Tooth extraction involves removing the decayed tooth from its socket, leaving a gap that can be filled with a crown, denture, implant, or filling. This procedure is also commonly used to remove broken teeth or to resolve the problem of overcrowding in the mouth.
It’s often necessary to remove even a mildly decayed tooth before it gets worse and starts to cause health problems. A decayed tooth of any severity can increase the risk of chronic pain and infections.