Elk Grove, CA
Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems today, affecting both children and adults. We here at Laguna View Family Dental offer several treatments designed to prevent and treat tooth decay. It all starts with patient education.
What Is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay occurs when the enamel layer deteriorates due to the bacteria found in plaque. The bacteria in our mouth feed off the sugars, starches, and other simple carbohydrates we consume. As they feed, they produce acids that eat away at the enamel. This process is also known as demineralization.
Without proper oral hygiene and preventive treatment, the acids that attack the enamel can cause cavities. Eventually, the tooth decay can reach the dentin layer and the root of the tooth. At this stage, you may need more extensive restorative treatments.
A dental cleaning is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Even people that practice excellent oral hygiene at home need professional cleanings about twice a year. We may recommend more frequent cleanings if you are at a greater risk for tooth decay and other dental problems.
During your cleaning, our dental hygienist will use an ultrasonic scaler to eliminate plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) from your teeth. Reducing plaque buildup helps keep bacterial growth at bay. Once your cleaning is complete, we polish the enamel to improve the sheen of your smile.
Kids and Tooth Decay
As a family dental office, we are focused on treating patients of all ages, from young children to older adults. Dr. Leo Townsend has undergone extensive training for a wide-variety of pediatric treatments. One of our biggest goals is helping children avoid tooth decay.
Preventing tooth decay in children is vital to the future of their oral health. Maintaining pristine dental health can help save them from developing major complications later down the line. We strive to establish a strong foundation of oral health that follows them into adulthood. Ultimately, we want their healthy, beautiful smile to last a lifetime!
Treating Tooth Decay
Restorative treatment for tooth decay usually begins with a dental filling. These days, most fillings are fabricated using composite resin, a putty-like material that can be color-matched to the current shade of your enamel. Composite fillings are virtually indistinguishable from the rest of your tooth, making them ideal if cosmetics are a concern.
For larger cavities, we may recommend an amalgam or silver filling. Amalgam fillings are best for teeth in the posterior region of the mouth, the molars, and premolars. These teeth usually need a more durable restorative material to withstand the strongest pressures of your bite force.
If decay is left untreated, it may cause an infection in the pulpy substance of a tooth’s root. The pulp contains the nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels responsible for the life of a tooth. An infection in the pulp can be extremely painful and ultimately result in tooth loss.
If you have painful symptoms related to an infected pulp, we typically need to perform a root canal. Once we remove the infected tooth material, we fill the area with a rubber-like material known as gutta-percha. After your root canal, we usually place a dental crown to protect the tooth from further structural damage.