Tooth decay occurs when your tooth enamel softens and becomes damaged, which happens from acids that develop when sugar breaks down in your mouth and causes mineral loss. If it is left untreated, then it can lead to a cavity or hole in your tooth. When a cavity isn’t treated, the hole can become so large that it can cause root damage and threaten to destroy the entire tooth. When this happens, the nerves in the tooth will become exposed and could cause severe pain. If you treat tooth decay early, then treatment will be easy and quick. If any of the following symptoms occur, you should seek professional treatment:
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Pain when eating or applying pressure to the tooth
- A pus pocket on the gums around the tooth
What are the Causes of Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay develops when foods that contain carbohydrates become lodged between the teeth and are not removed through proper oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing. Foods that contain high amounts of sugar will combine with the acid in your mouth and leave your teeth vulnerable to decay.
How to Treat Tooth Decay
Treatment for a cavity will depend on the extent of the decay. Treatment options for decay are:
- Fluoride Treatment – When a cavity has just started to develop, fluoride treatment could restore the damaged enamel and may even reverse a cavity when it is in its earliest stages. A professional fluoride treatment has more fluoride than mouth rinse, toothpaste, and tap water. The treatment can be in the form of a liquid, gel, or foam. The substance will be brushed on your teeth, or you may have the treatment administered with a small tray that is placed over your teeth.
- Dental Fillings – Dental fillings are the primary treatment for cavities if it has developed past the earliest stages. Fillings may be made of composite resin, dental amalgam, or porcelain.
- Crowns – When the decay is extensive and has weakened the tooth, a crown may need to be placed. This is a cap that is customized to fit over the tooth and will replace the natural crown of the tooth. Crowns are made of resin, gold, porcelain, or other materials.
- Root Canal Therapy – If the decay has reached the pulp of the tooth, root canal therapy may be needed. This will repair and save your tooth. Root canal therapy removes decayed pulp. If an infection is present, you may have medication put into the root canal. After the tooth is free of decay, it will be filled, and a restoration will be placed on the tooth.
- Extraction – If a tooth is decayed so badly that it can’t be saved, the only option is a tooth extraction. If you have an extraction, it is beneficial to have a dental bridge or implant placed to preserve the bone.
If you wish to seek treatment for tooth decay, we warmly encourage you to reach out and make an appointment with Hillfield Pediatric & Family Dentistry! At our convenient location in Layton, UT, our caring and knowledgeable professionals will be pleased to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you!