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Treat Decay Early

Why is decay such a big deal to dentists anyway?

Dental decay occurs when bacteria left on the teeth produces acids that eat away at the teeth, causing a cavity. Once the hard enamel surface of the tooth has a cavity, the bacteria can enter the tooth and attack the soft inner dentine. If decay is left in a tooth, the tooth will in time become painful and abscess.

What causes it?

When the decay becomes so large it goes close to the nerve (pulp) the risk of complications such as tooth fracture or abscess increase.

How to detect it?Map

Cracks in teeth and abscesses are not usually visible on X-Rays or to the naked eye. It can be detected by:

  • Pain in the tooth from chewing, or hot/cold/sweet food and drink
  • Pain from cold air on the tooth
  • Laser light detection of surface cracks

How Today’s Dentistry treat decay

If left untreated, cracks will cause the tooth to split completely in half and the tooth will need to be removed.

If detected and treated early enough the tooth with a deep filling can be strengthened by crowning. This is the most predictable technique for preventing and treating fractures.

Once the fracture has gone close to the nerve (pulp) in the tooth, the tooth may abscess and to treat this infection requires root therapy in addition to crowning.

How to reduce further problems?

Problems with deep fillings are more likely when they are placed under increased stress. This is commonly due to:

  • Uneven biting forces
  • Clenching and grinding habits
  • Destructive habits such as chewing ice

These forces can be reduced by fine tuning your bite or make a night guard.

Today’s Dentistry are here to help

Teeth with deep fillings can fracture or abscess with little or no warning. If you are experiencing acute pain, contact us and make an emergency appointment. If it is out of business hours phone 07 3263 2677 for instructions of your options.

Patient Centre

Packed with useful information, links and resources for you – our patient.
 

More dental resources here

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  • Kids dental trauma - In this article, we wanted to bring together a couple of similar questions we have received to Ask a Dentist, all about kids dental emergencies and traumas: My toddler fell in the playground and broke half of her front teeth off. After a few tears, she was OK, but should I take her to the
  • Dr David Kerr during dental treatment with female patient Bad dental experience - Many people come to us telling us they’ve had a painful or bad dental experience in the past. It’s always sad when we hear this because it doesn’t have to be like this. Just because you’ve had a bad dental experience, it doesn’t mean history has to be repeated.

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