Tooth decay or cavity is a disease that destroys the structure of teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to pain and infection and in severe cases, it ends in tooth loss.
What causes tooth decay?
Our daily diet which contains sugar is a source of nutrition for the microbes that are present in our oral cavity. These microbes feed on sugar to produce acid which destroys the tooth. This is called as cavity or decay.
Can tooth decay spread other tooth?
Yes, decay occurring on the sides of tooth can spread to the adjacent tooth if left untreated
What is the treatment for tooth decay?
When tooth decay is checked in the early stages, a simple filling is enough to treat. If decay progresses to further with pain, swelling, this is treated by root canal treatment.
How to prevent Tooth Decay?
Proper maintenance of oral hygiene, diet and regular dental checkup help prevent decay.
TYPES OF FILLING:
This is a filling that contains mercury, silver and other metals. This is not preferred by most patients because of its esthetic disadvantage.
Glass ionomer cement:
This is cement made of silicate glass powder. This can chemically bond to the tooth enamel and dentin. This has the property to release fluoride ions which is necessary in prevention of furthering of decay. This is esthetic good as it is tooth colored. The uses of this cement include permanent cementation of crowns, bridges, inlays, onlays, posts, and orthodontic appliances.
This is cement made up of resin based polymer matrix. These have micro-mechanical retention property that makes composite more effective for filling small cavities where other fillings are not as effective and could therefore fall out. The appearance of resin-based composite restorations is far superior and very tooth like due to its translucency. Hence this is the most preferred filling material.
Sealants help to protect back teeth from decay. A thin layer of sealant is bonded to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth which then forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from the tiny grooves in the teeth causing decay.
Who should get Sealants?
Dental Sealants are ideally indicated for children age 6 to 14 because this is when the permanent tooth erupts into the oral cavity. The children will not be able to brush properly as the grooves are deep and this is a source of food impaction leading to the formation of tooth decay. Hence protection at this time is ideal to prevent decay.
Which teeth to be sealed?
Usually, premolars and permanent molar surfaces are sealed.
Fluoride varnish or gel is a highly concentrated form of fluoride which is applied to the tooth’s surface, by a dentist. It is applied to the outside of the enamel as a varnish or as a gel in fluoride application trays. This is done because enamel having fluoride crystals, which are stronger and much more resistant to acid, are less likely to break down and cause the tooth surface to become porous.
INLAYS AND ONLAYS
Inlays and Onlays are a form of indirect restoration. This means they are made outside of the mouth as a single, solid piece that fits the specific size and shape of the cavity. The restoration is then cemented in place in the mouth. This is an alternative to a direct restoration, made out of composite, amalgam, or glass ionomer that is built up within the mouth.