CALL US AT 905-664-5555

Providing people with a positive experience centred around, but not limited to dental care. The product for both, our team and the people who trust us with their care will be a better quality of life.

"HEALTHY TEETH AND GUMS FOR LIFE"

How Do Dentists Treat Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or, more commonly, cavities, is a common dental issue that occurs when the enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, is damaged by acids produced by bacteria in the mouth. This condition can be painful, and lead to infection and even tooth loss if not properly treated. Treatment will depend on the severity and extent of the damage. 

Diagnosis of Tooth Decay

Your dentist needs to diagnose the extent of the tooth decay before determining what treatment is appropriate. This involves a visual examination, where your dentist inspects your teeth for visible signs of decay, such as discolouration, holes, or pits. Your dentist will also use a dental probe to check for soft spots on the enamel. Dental X-rays and digital imaging are used to reveal decay that is not visible.

Importance of Early Identification

It’s important to identify tooth decay as early as possible because it allows for simpler, less invasive treatments that can halt or even reverse the progression of decay, preventing further damage and more complex procedures. Early detection also helps preserve more of the natural tooth structure and reduces the risk of pain, infection, and tooth loss.

Treatment Options for Tooth Decay

Once tooth decay is diagnosed, your dentist will recommend a treatment plan based on the severity of the decay. The primary treatments for tooth decay include fluoride treatments, dental fillings, crowns, root canals, and extractions.

Fluoride Treatments

At the earliest stage of the process, fluoride treatments may help remineralize the enamel to halt the decay process. Fluoride, a mineral, strengthens the enamel and makes it more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria. Fluoride treatments can be applied in various forms, such as gels or foams placed in a mouthguard and worn for a few minutes, or a varnish painted directly onto the tooth surface.

dentist make fluoridation of teeth after ultrasonic cleaning for young woman

Dental Fillings

In most cases, a dental filling is necessary. Usually, this can be completed in a single treatment with no anaesthetic necessary.

Removal of Decayed Material

Your dentist will use a handpiece that will clean out the decayed portion of the tooth.

Cleaning the Area

The cavity is cleaned to remove bacteria and debris.

Filling the Cavity

The cleaned cavity is filled with dental filling material. While silver amalgam, gold, glass ionomer and other materials may be used for fillings, the most common filling material is a tooth-coloured composite resin.

For composite resin fillings, once the cavity has been thoroughly cleaned and free of debris, your dentist will apply a bonding agent that helps the composite resin stick to the tooth surface. The composite resin is then applied in layers, with each layer cured or hardened using an LED light. Your dentist will then shape and polish the composite resin to ensure a smooth and comfortable bite.

Dental Crowns

For extensive decay that weakens the tooth structure, a dental crown may be necessary. This is a cap placed over the tooth to strengthen it. An impression of your tooth will be made for a permanent crown to be made from. Until this permanent crown is ready, you’ll be given a temporary one. At this time, the permanent crown will be cemented onto your tooth.

Crowns can be made from various materials, including porcelain, metal, or a combination of both, depending on the location of the tooth and aesthetic considerations.

Root Canal Treatment

If decay reaches the inner pulp of the tooth – the tissues, nerves, and blood vessels within the tooth’s root canals – it leads to infection or severe pain. At this point, a root canal treatment becomes necessary.

Removing Infected Pulp

Your dentist will remove the infected or dead pulp from the tooth’s interior.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

The root canals are cleaned, disinfected, and shaped.

Filling the Root Canals

The cleaned root canals are filled with a rubbery material called gutta-percha.

Sealing the Tooth

The tooth is sealed with a temporary or permanent filling. Often, a crown is placed on the tooth to restore its strength and functionality.

dental obturation

Tooth Extraction

If the tooth is severely decayed and cannot be saved, extraction may be necessary. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area around the tooth before your dentist pulls the tooth with dental tools. Options for replacing the missing tooth include dental implants, bridges, or dentures to fill the gap and prevent oral health issues associated with missing teeth, such as teeth shifting towards the gap.

Again, early detection and treatment are vital to prevent progression and more complex interventions. Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene are essential to preventing tooth decay.

Gateshead Dental offers white composite resin fillings to help our patients who have tooth decay. If you have tooth pain, or you notice discolouration or holes in a tooth, you may have a cavity, so contact us right away. Getting it treated as soon as possible prevents it from getting more painful and leading to greater damage to the tooth. 

Dr. Christopher Sims
Latest posts by Dr. Christopher Sims (see all)

Recent Posts

How Do Dentists Treat Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or, more commonly, cavities, is a common dental issue that occurs when the enamel, the outer layer of...

How Do Dentists Treat Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or, more commonly, cavities, is a common dental issue that occurs when the enamel, the outer layer of...

How Do Dentists Treat Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or, more commonly, cavities, is a common dental issue that occurs when the enamel, the outer layer of...

How Does a Dentist Treat Gum Disease?

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a common but preventable condition that affects the gum tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It starts with bacterial...

How to Care for Dental Implants

Dental implants are designed to be long-lasting replacements for missing teeth, but they require proper care and maintenance to function effectively over time. Implants are...

Is It Safe to Have Dental Work Done During Pregnancy?

Wondering if you can get dental work done while pregnant? You’re not alone. Many expectant mothers have concerns about the safety of dental procedures during...