Regular dental checkups serve to help your dental team spot tooth decay early on, before decay develops into a big problem requiring intensive and costly treatment. We look for cavities, the early signs of gum disease, and also check on old fillings to make sure they are not leaking, causing further decay. The early stages of tooth decay can be reversed, especially if the tooth is still at the stage where it is not causing you pain. This is also why early detection is important, because if there is no pain and you are not aware there is a problem, the tooth can’t be fixed. So what are the various stages of tooth decay and how do we repair them?
Fluoride – if we detect the early stages of tooth decay, we may recommend fluoride treatment to restore the enamel, which takes a few minutes for the treatment and then your tooth enamel is protected. In-office fluoride treatment is more effective than the fluoride you receive from drinking most tap water, or using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwashes, although those are helpful.
Filling – dental restorations, or fillings, are the next level to repair tooth decay if the decay has advanced beyond enamel erosion. Fillings can come in a variety of materials including composite resins, porcelain or amalgam fillings (a combination of material).
Crown – if your tooth decay has progressed enough to weaken the tooth structure, we may advise placing a crown on the tooth. We will remove all decay in the area and shape what is left of the tooth material to fit the crown material. Crown materials include porcelain, gold, and resin, for example.
Root Canal – once the decay reaches down the pulp, you will likely require a root canal. This still saves the tooth as only the diseased pulp is removed and the cavity is filled. To treat any lingering infection, you will also receive antibiotics.
Pulling the Tooth – if the tooth is beyond repair, we will need to remove it. Pulling a tooth means you will be left with empty space where the tooth was located, and which may cause the remaining teeth to shift. Therefore, we recommend a bridge or dental implant to restore your smile.
We want to help you keep your smile healthy, and invite you to keep up with dental checkups so we can treat tooth decay in the early stages. To schedule a visit with our dedicated dentist, please call our Smiley Dental Hampton team in Dallas, Texas at 214.467.4800 today!