Restorative and General Dentistry for Tooth Decay

Jun 1, 2015 @ 10:00 AM — by Lisbeth Bradley DDS

Smiling patient with a dental mirrorTooth decay is a common dental concern, although routine general dentistry treatments can reduce your risk for cavities. However, if decay develops, it is usually easy to address. At our practice, we offer a number of restorative dentistry treatments that can repair your smile. Dr. Bradley will evaluate your tooth and the size of your cavity to determine the right option for you. She will always recommend the most conservative treatment possible. However, if decay has spread throughout your tooth, you may require more extensive care. For this reason, it is important to seek treatment as soon as you notice the symptoms of a cavity. Dr. Bradley will restore your damaged tooth and protect the look of your beautiful smile. To learn more about tooth decay treatments, contact our Nashville practice today.

The Causes and Symptoms of Tooth Decay

Our mouths are full of bacteria, some of which are actually beneficial for our oral health. Other microbes, however, are quite harmful. These bacteria feed off of sugars and starches in food. As they consume these substances, they will produce acid, which will wear away at your protective enamel. At first, this process will only cause microscopic holes, which we can often reverse with a thorough cleaning. However, as the erosion continues, bacteria can enter the deeper layers of your tooth, resulting in a cavity.

A cavity can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the extent and location of the decay. These symptoms may be mild to severe. They include:

  • Toothache
  • Sensitivity, especially when biting down
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • White spots on the surface of your tooth

In some cases, cavities may not cause any symptoms. This is another reason to visit your dentist on a regular basis. She can take x-rays and look for the non-visible signs of tooth decay.

An Ounce of Prevention…

There is a famous saying that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is certainly true in dentistry! The best way to treat tooth decay is to keep it from occurring in the first place. Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash at home are all important. However, it is essential to supplement your at-home care with professional preventative treatment. Biannual cleanings will keep bacteria from building up in your mouth. Dr. Bradley also offers dental sealants, which will form a barrier between bacteria and your teeth.

Fillings: The Most Common Treatment for Dental Decay

A conservative filling can restore a tooth’s function and prevent further damage. Fillings can be made of several different materials, including gold and silver amalgam. However, for the most lifelike appearance, we typically recommend tooth-colored composite fillings.

Crowns: A Good Option for Large Cavities

If your decay has spread and affected a large portion of your tooth, you may need a dental crown. This restoration will fit over your tooth. In this way, it can provide greater support for your weakened tooth, and it can cover a larger area of decay. Your crown will be custom-made, based on impressions and pictures of your teeth. We typically use porcelain crowns for the most lifelike appearance. Their natural color and slight translucence will help them to blend beautifully with your smile.

Contact Us Today to Save Your Tooth

If you have noticed the symptoms of a cavity, timely action could prevent further damage. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Bradley and find out the most appropriate solution for your dental decay.

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