Options for Covering a Badly Decayed Tooth

We have patients come in with decayed teeth who wonder what went wrong. They practice good oral hygiene. They brush their teeth twice a day and floss in between brushing. They use fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristled toothbrush.

And they brush for two minutes, 30 seconds in each quadrant, each time they brush, yet they still got a cavity. You would think that doing all of these things correctly would make your teeth cavity-proof, but unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Getting a cavity, which is a decaying tooth, can come for a variety of reasons. Certain medications can weaken your teeth. You may be on medications that limit the amount of saliva that is produced. Your saliva is critical in preventing cavities. Saliva “washes” your teeth in between brushings. You may also have a medical condition that can make you more susceptible to cavities. Whatever the reason, the good news is that the cavity can be treated and we can make your smile bright again with the tools we have in our dentist's toolbox.

What Can You Do for Decayed Teeth?

First, we remove the decay. Once that is completed, we can tell how much of the tooth we have left to work with. There are several types of cavities and what we can do depends on which type you have. If you have tooth decay that only affects the smooth surfaces of your tooth, we may have to do no more than give you a fluoride treatment.

If, however, the tooth decay is severe we generally will use a filling to correct the decay. On your back teeth, your molars, we usually use a gold or silver filling because these substances are strong enough to withstand the pressure put on your teeth by chewing. Plus, your molars typically aren't revealed when you smile.

If your decay is too much for a filing, we will typically place a crown on your teeth. These can be matched to the color of your teeth and look just like a tooth. If the decay has reached the pulp, we will perform a root canal and then place the crown. Come to see us as soon as you suspect decay, because if it gets too severe, your only option is extraction.

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