The sharp pang of pain when biting down, the throbbing in your jaw that just won’t go away – these are all signs that you need to see your dentist and quick. But, just as often you may have a cavity that needs to be filled and not know about it. There are a number of ways that cavities can be treated, some are tried and true techniques and others are cutting edge. This article will explore some of those techniques and how they can benefit you.
One of the first tools in your dentist’s arsenal is a fluoride treatment. Fluoride treatments are used when the cavity has not progressed very far and the tooth enamel can still be repaired. This treatment can even reverse the cavity if it is caught in the very early stages. What happens is the dentist will apply a fluoride liquid, gel, foam, or varnish to the teeth that have a higher concentration of fluoride than in toothpaste or mouth rinses. They can apply the fluoride treatment either by brushing it onto the teeth or placing it on a small tray that fits directly over your teeth.
Fluoride treatments are often done at the end of a cleaning and are a great way to restore your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing will also preserve your teeth for many years to come, so be sure to brush at least twice a day and floss every day for optimum oral health.
Fillings & Crowns
When a cavity has progressed to the next stage of decay, then fillings, or sometimes called restorations, are the order of the day. Fillings can be made from a variety of materials from tooth-colored composites or porcelain, or a kind of metal amalgam which is a combination of a few different types of metals and have a silvery appearance.
Both options come down to price and aesthetic. Consult with your dentist about what option is best for you, and be sure to see what your insurance will cover so you can be sure you are not caught spending an arm and a leg at the dentist’s office.
Crowns are the next option for when there is extensive decay or when the tooth is weak. A crown is a custom-made covering that replaces the tooth’s natural crown. The dentist will drill away all the decayed area and some of the healthy tooth to ensure a good crown fit. Crowns can also be made from a variety of materials, such as high strength porcelain, resin, gold, or a porcelain crown fused to a metal base.
Among the latest innovations developed in dental science comes a technique called resin infiltration. Developed by researchers at the University of Alabama it could replace the traditional drilling method of taking care of cavities. According to dmdtoday.com, it was tested in clinical trials as early as February 2017. But, what is resin infiltration?
According to dmdtoday.com, the resin infiltration is a product is applied “in the small space between a patient’s teeth”. The gel prepares the surface of the tooth for the resin product, “which is applied through the use of a plastic, perforated sheet that is pushed between the affected teeth. The tooth is then filled by pushing liquid resin through the perforated sheet, and a dental curing light is used to cure the resin.”
This technique is still very new, but it is worth mentioning to your dentist. It may be that as the technology improves it will become a standard practice as a non-invasive method of repairing cavities.
Root canals are a final step to take when tooth decay reaches the pulp, or inner material, of the tooth. Instead of removing the tooth entirely, the treatment is meant to repair and save the tooth as much as possible. The pulp is then replaced with a filling and a crown is often placed on top. Root canals are the last step before the dentist will consider removing the tooth. If you do need a tooth extracted, a bridge or dental implant will help prevent the other teeth in your mouth from moving around, sometimes drastically changing the shape of your face. A dental implant will also help prevent bone loss in the jaw by essentially replacing the entire tooth with a metal post and a porcelain cap.
Each of these treatments is a possible option when it comes to treating a cavity. Consult with your doctor about which would be best for your case, and remember to treat your oral health as a large investment, because oral health is overall health.