Tooth decay is the destruction of tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of teeth. When teeth are damaged by tooth decay, dental fillings may be recommended to repair the enamel and protect the tooth from further harm.
Dental Prevention & Treatment of Tooth Decay
Dr. Zanthos recommends dental sealants as a preventive measure for children to make teeth less susceptible to decay. Fluoride supplements and rinses can also help harden tooth enamel to aid in resistance to harmful bacteria.
After a cavity develops, however, it becomes necessary to remove the decay and restore the tooth with a filling to prevent infection and pain.
Tooth Fillings & Restorative Dentistry
The purpose of a filling procedure is to 1) stop the decay process and 2) to rebuild compromised enamel in order to prevent recurrent decay.
In a filling procedure, Dr. Zanthos will make sure you are completely comfortable using local anesthetic as needed as he removes damaged tooth structure and replaces it with a filling restoration.
Tooth-colored "white" fillings are made of composite resin material and are available in a number of natural-looking shades to match existing teeth. Composite materials are generally used for cosmetic bonding procedures in front teeth or conservative fillings in molars and premolars. Dr. Zanthos may recommend silver fillings in some situations based on the location of the cavity and the desired strength of the restoration.
In most cases, fillings are effective for small cavities; however, large areas of decay and broken tooth structure typically require more durable restorations such as inlays, onlays or crowns.
Dental decay is unstoppable without treatment. Over time, the destruction caused by decay will progress and affect the tooth nerve, requiring a root canal and crown procedure to save the tooth from being lost altogether.
The best plan to avoid dental fillings and tooth decay is through regular dental examinations and preventive care. Please contact us to schedule a complete dental examination and keep your smile healthy!