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4 Options For Treating Tooth Decay

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Tooth decay is incredibly common, and it can lead to severe problems if left untreated. The decay could reach the tooth's pulp, which may trigger an infection. There are many treatments for treating tooth decay, but the right one depends on the severity of the decay. If you would like to know more, check out these four options for treating tooth decay.

1. Filling

A filling is a go-to treatment for cavities, and they have been around for a long time. In the past, only metal fillings were used. These are still used today for some patients because they are cheap and durable. However, they do require some healthy tooth tissue to be removed.

This is because the metal doesn't bond to tooth tissue, so it needs a shelf on which to sit inside the tooth. Tooth-colored fillings made from composite resin are less durable, but they look like tooth tissue and can bond to tooth tissue.

2. Dental Crown

If the decay is severe, a filling may not be enough. In fact, in some cases, big fillings can weaken teeth. When you take a bit of food or grind your teeth, your teeth experience massive amounts of pressure. A healthy, solid tooth allows that pressure to be distributed evenly, but if there is a weak spot (such as from a filling), it may prevent the pressure from being distributed evenly.

As a result, only part of the tooth is exposed to the pressure, increasing the risk of cracking or shattering the tooth. The dental crown, however, becomes the tooth's new solid exterior, so it can better protect the tooth from uneven pressure and stress.

3. Root Canal Treatment

One reason you may need a dental crown is to protect a tooth after root canal treatment. Root canal treatment is needed when the decay reaches the tooth's pulp. This usually leads to an infection that can't be treated with antibiotics alone. In most cases, the infection will keep returning.

Root canal treatment involves removing the entire tooth's pulp and roots. They are replaced with a special dental material, and the tooth is closed. Usually, even though the tooth is dead, it continues to work and looks like a natural healthy tooth.

4. Extraction

Finally, if nothing else seems to work, you may need to have the tooth extracted. Extractions are necessary when the tooth is too damaged. For example, if your tooth breaks at the gumline and you lose the whole crown, the dentist may not be able to rebuild the tooth, so an extraction will be needed. An extraction may also be needed if root canal treatment keeps failing.

After extraction, it's your decision to replace the missing tooth or not. Neglecting to replace the missing tooth, however, will allow the other teeth to shift.

Just about everyone has experienced some form of tooth decay. Luckily, there are treatments to fight tooth decay, so you can focus on a healthy mouth again. If you would like to know more, contact a dentist's office in your area such as Dental Care Associates.