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Cavities & Fillings

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What is a dental cavity or decay?

Early Cavities- Demineralization

Cavities start off as tiny microscopic holes within the tooth. They are caused by the plaque, the waste product of bacteria, typically low pH /acidic waste byproduct of strep. mutans. In the extremely early stages, teeth may appear with demineralized white spots or brown lesions starting. On the dental x-ray they may appear as grey/ dark/ shadow appearance depending on the location of the cavity.  

Early Cavity Demineralized Treatment:

Our conservative dentist may suggest minimally invasive dentistry options.   Solutions that can help minimize decay progression at this early point are In-Office Fluoride treatment (22,000 part per million), Prescription Rx Flouride (5000 ppm), Non-Fluoride treatment (eg: MI paste) or Silver Diamine Fluoride. We recommend getting dental cleanings more often, and then it is up to you to consider changes in home health care such as ridiculously thorough brushing, flossing and minimizing snacking/drinking thoughout the day! Essentially you are to remove bacteria, before it has a chance to build up plaque, minimize bacteria's food source: sugar and carbohydrates, and help strengthen the enamel.

Cavities & Treatment: Composite Resin Dental Fillings

Enamel Decay -->Dentin Decay

Tooth Decay or Dental Cavity is essentially soft area/weakened tooth structure in the tooth.  Small or medium-sized decay treatment is usually a filling.  The dentist removes this soft area and places a filling. Traditional dental metal fillings on back teeth consist of amalgams. Today, composite resin dental fillings are placed on all teeth.  At Dominion Dental Spa, we use tooth-colored composite filling material. This allows us to replace unsightly metal fillings or dark tooth decay with the most cosmetic dental material available.  Fillings are necessary to treat cavities and old, broken-down fillings.  Composite filling material comes in a wide variety of colors, so our fillings are virtually invisible. 

 

Keep in mind, Composite resin dental filling material may also be used in areas where there is no decay, but tooth structure is missing such as a chipped tooth, fractured tooth, closing a gap between teeth or for esthetic bonding.

Dental fillings work best and last the longest when there is plenty of natural tooth to work with and are not in the deep part of the tooth.

Don't wait for the cavity to get worse!

Dentin decay-->Damaged Pulp-->Abcess Formation

As decay progresses, there will be less good tooth structure for the dentist to work with!  Enamel is about 6 times harder than dentin (the inner layer of the tooth). Once decay hits this layer, it spreads faster.   

Location and size of decay matters in world of dentistry!  

 

Large decay treatment:

If decay progresses toward the center of the tooth or towards the nerve of the tooth, or if the decay is very deep (below the gums), then this compromises good tooth structure and increases your chance of needing a crown, buildup, root-canal, crown-lengthening surgery or in some cases the tooth becomes non-restorable and will need a dental extraction. If you think you have a cavity, don't delay dental care! It may become more expensive to fix over time.

Do I have tooth decay? Signs and Symptoms of a Dental Cavity may include:

Sensitive teeth

Occasional pain when you eat or drink sweet, hot or cold things

Holes or pits in teeth

White, Brown, Black tooth stains

Pain when you bite or chew

Spontaneous pain or toothache that happens without a warning

What increases my chances of getting decay?

Frequent eating & drinking of foods with sugar/carbs throughout the day.

Sticky/clingy foods

Poor removal of plaque (inadequate oral hygiene)

Lack of Fluoride 

Dry mouth 

Medications that cause dry mouth

Acid reflux disease

Eating distorders

Give our San Antonio dental office a call to schedule your appointment at 210-687-1150.