What Are My Tooth Decay Treatment Options?

tooth_optionsTooth decay is an extremely common concern throughout the world; in fact, almost everyone will experience some degree of tooth decay at some point in their life. Caused by buildups of bacteria that bind to the teeth and form plaque or tartar, tooth decay can manifest at varying levels of severity, ranging from cavities to pulp damage to abscesses.

Generally speaking, tooth decay is typically preventable if you brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, and attend your twice-yearly dental cleanings. That said, if decay does develop and is left untreated, it can cause a range of problems, including eventual tooth loss. Fortunately, our Coronado cosmetic dentist, Jason Keckley, DMD, offers a number of treatments for teeth afflicted with decay or infection.

Cavities are the most common manifestation of tooth decay, occurring when decay penetrates the enamel (or outermost layer) of the tooth. Most cavities can be addressed with tooth-colored fillings. Our fillings are made of a sturdy composite material and designed to blend seamlessly with the surrounding natural teeth. Their ability to improve the function of the tooth while preserving a natural-looking smile aesthetic have made composite fillings the new industry standard for cavities, effectively replacing metal (amalgam) fillings.

Because tooth-colored fillings require the tooth structure to retain sufficient strength for support, they are best suited for mild to moderate cases of decay. Patients with slightly more advanced symptoms may benefit more from dental inlays and/or onlays. These restorations serve to fill larger cavities (inlays) and protect the outer structures of the tooth that have been impacted by decay (onlays). Depending on your particular concerns, they can be placed individually or in combination.

If you are suffering from moderate to severe decay, you may benefit from a CEREC® same-day dental crown. Crowns fit over the outside of a damaged tooth, serving as a sort of tooth “cap.” They are commonly employed after a root canal in order to provide structural support and protection from further decay. Extremely versatile, crowns are also used as a part of many restorations—including implants and bridges—to restore function to the bite and aesthetically enhance the smile. As with our inlays and onlays, we craft our dental crowns using the advanced CEREC® system, a technology that allows for restorations to be designed, created, and placed all within the same dental visit.

Ultimately, the most severe cases of decay may warrant a tooth extraction. While Dr. Keckley typically only extracts teeth as a “last resort,” the removal of a tooth that has become so badly decayed that it causes pain can often greatly benefit a patient’s oral health. Dr. Keckley can discuss replacement options for extracted teeth during your consultation, and he will do everything in his power to make sure the treatment process is as comfortable as possible for you.

Our team at Coronado Classic Dentistry is proud to provide patients with top-quality care. If you have additional questions about tooth decay prevention or treatment, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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