Tooth decay is one of the most common oral health ailments and we are here to offer preventative advice and treatment for existing cases of decay. If you’re suffering with troublesome toothache, have noticed sensitivity of late or your tooth feels weak, call us and we will have you fighting fit again in no time.
Dental decay, also known as cavities or caries, is a common disease caused by harmful bacteria. These bacteria, which combine with food debris and saliva to form a sticky substance called plaque, release acids when they feed. The plaque acids weaken and erode the outer enamel layer of the tooth, leaving the tooth susceptible to infection and eventually causing holes to form, which are known as cavities. Once a hole has formed in the enamel, the tooth becomes vulnerable and infection can spread.
Decay is preventable and it’s best to act as quickly as possible to stem the spread of infection and reduce damage to the tooth. Possible signs of decay include heightened sensitivity, toothache and the appearance of cavities, which you may be able to feel if you move your tongue over the biting surface of your tooth. The best ways to prevent decay are to practise good oral hygiene at home, see your dentist for regular check-ups and try to limit the amount of sugary and acidic foods and drinks you consume.
If you have a cavity, the most common course of action is a filling. Fillings are designed to fill in the cavity and reduce the risk of infection spreading through the tooth. Before a filling is placed, the cavity is cleared out completely to remove decayed tissue. Then the surface is etched and bonding agent is applied to help the filling stick. White fillings are becoming increasingly popular and are made from dental composite and resins. The composite is placed inside the cavity and then shaped to fit the hole. It is hardened using a curing light and any additional modifications are then made. Fillings tend to last a few years. Every time you have a dental check-up, your dentist will check your fillings.