Decay and old or defective silver fillings often cause the teeth to become discolored and unsightly. If you have this problem, several alternatives are available. However, before the best option can be chosen all decayed tooth and/or old filling material must be removed. Sometimes even after an old filling is replaced, stains are left behind on the remaining tooth structure. Such staining most likely require masking using bonding, porcelain veneers, or crowns.
What is a "CAVITY"?
Caries is a term commonly used for tooth decay. The earliest sign of a new caries lesion may be the appearance of a chalky white spot on the surface of the tooth, indicating an area of demineralization of enamel. As the lesion continues to breakdown the enamel,it may turn brown and will eventually turn into a CAVITY. Once a cavitation forms, the lost tooth structure cannot be regenerated. Dentist will remove the decay using a dental drill, air abrasion or laser. This creates a prepared cavity,which will receive and retain a restoration,usually a tooth-colored filling.
Why do teeth decay?
Decay of tooth enamel is caused by certain types of acid-producing bacteria that attack the tooth enamel. Once the enamel surface is broken, the tooth can no longer repair itself. Continuing decay undermines the inner tooth and attacks the nerve, causing toothache.
Out with the old fillings!
Dental fillings replace tooth structure lost to decay. These may last many years: however, bacteria or stress from clenching or grinding may eventually cause the seal between the tooth and the filling to break down. Food particles and bacteria can access the area between the tooth and the filling, eventually destroying your healthy tooth structure. During regular dental examination, your dentist should determine whether existing fillings are intact. If a seal is worn, cracked, or leaking, it may need to be replaced or repaired.
How to prevent tooth decay?
- Brushing and flossing twice daily without fail
- Eating healthy foods, especially whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and foods that are low in saturated fat and sodium.
- Avoid foods that contain lot of sugar, especially sticky sweet foods