Dental cavities are a form of tooth decay. If left untreated, cavities can lead to major dental damage, painful toothaches, and tooth loss. Repairing dental cavities at the first signs of damage is one of the best ways to protect the smile from the dangers of tooth decay. Dental treatments are available to repair dental damage, like cavities, and protect oral health for a beautiful smile for years to come. To find out which treatment for cavities is right for you, schedule a consultation with Rancho Peñasquitos, CA dentists Tim Belnap and W. Brandon Jergensen.
The Importance of Treating Dental Cavities
Dental cavities are a form of decay that develops as a result of plaque and acid buildup on the teeth. Dental cavities begin as small holes within the enamel of the teeth. As decay progresses, cavities enlarge and, if left untreated, will eventually reach the root canal of the tooth, where the tooth's nerves, pulp tissue, and blood vessels reside.
When plaque and bacteria are allowed to reach the root canal and its tissues, a painful root canal infection can develop. Once a root canal infection occurs, the tooth may die and turn gray, causing it to fall out or require extraction. Because dental cavities increase the risk of further damage, painful root canal infections, and tooth loss, it's important to seek treatment for cavities at the earliest signs of a problem.
Popular Treatments for Dental Cavities
Thanks to advances in dentistry, traditional silver amalgam fillings are no longer the only choice for treating dental cavities. Now patients have options, including aesthetically pleasing tooth-colored treatments, to repair dental cavities and restore the smile. Some of the most popular treatments for dental cavities include:
- Tooth-colored fillings: Tooth-colored fillings are made of a natural looking, durable composite resin. This resin is matched to each patient's tooth color, providing a seamless blend between the restoration and natural tooth.
- Root canal therapy: Root canal therapy is used to treat root canal infections and prevent tooth loss. Root canal therapy is generally paired with dental crown treatment to fully restore the tooth.
- Porcelain dental crowns: Porcelain crowns are tooth-shaped restorations that completely cover, or cap, a damaged tooth to restore dental strength, function, and appearance. Porcelain dental crowns are a good solution for those with large cavities or teeth weakened by root canal therapy.
- Inlays: Inlays are a tooth-colored treatment used to repair cavities isolated within the cusps of the molars.
- Onlays: Onlays, or partial crowns, are another tooth-colored treatment option for use when dental cavities extend beyond one or more cusps.
Tips to Prevent Dental Cavities
Although treatments are available to repair dental cavities, prevention is best. You can help protect your smile and prevent dental cavities by:
- Brushing at least twice a day, everyday
- Flossing at least once a day, everyday
- Avoiding sugary foods and drinks
- Avoiding acidic foods and drinks
- Brushing after eating
- Seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings
Discover Your Treatment Options
To discover which treatments are right for your dental needs, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Drs. Belnap and Jergensen.