The Top Tooth Decay Treatments
Tooth decay is a condition that occurs when acids emitted by bacteria eat away at the tooth structure, creating cavities within the tooth. In its earliest stages, tooth decay may create a small cavity that can be treated with a simple filling. If the condition is allowed to progress, more aggressive treatment and larger restorations must be used to treat the condition. At the practice of Andrew G. Mortensen, DDS, we offer all types of restorative dentistry treatments to eliminate decay and strengthen the tooth. During your professional exam and cleaning, we will take X-rays and examine the health of the tooth to determine which treatment is best suited to your needs. To learn more about your possible tooth decay treatment options, read the following information from our Fountain Valley dental team.
Eliminating Tooth Decay
Eliminating tooth decay and harmful bacteria from the tooth is the first step of any tooth decay treatment. First, we will numb the tooth and gums with a local anesthetic. Then, we will remove any unhealthy tooth structure with a dental drill. We will flush the tooth with water to remove any debris. We will continue this process until all signs of infection have been removed and healthy tooth structure remains.
If you have a root canal infection, the tooth will require more extensive cleaning. We will use special files of increasing widths to clean the root canals of the affected tooth. Once the infected pulp material and tooth structure have been removed, we will fill the root canals with a rubber compound called gutta percha.
Restoring the Tooth
After all signs of decay have been removed the tooth, we can restore it. Depending of the severity of the decay we may recommend a:
- Dental filling: A dental filling can be used to fill in small to medium-sized cavities within the tooth. In this procedure, we use tooth-colored composite resin to fill in the space left by the cavity and restore proper bite alignment.
- Inlay or Onlay: An inlay or onlay can be used to replace a moderate amount of tooth structure on the biting surface of the pre-molars and molars. Inlays fill in the indented surface of the tooth, and onlays fill in the indented surface and the cusps. These porcelain restorations are custom-made in a lab to fit precisely within your tooth.
- Dental crowns: If you have lost a large amount of tooth structure to decay, or you have undergone root canal therapy, a crown will be placed over the weakened tooth. Instead of filling in or replacing lost tooth structure, a crown completely encases a tooth, lending additional strength and support. We place porcelain crowns, which are custom-crafted at a reputable dental lab.
In cases of severe tooth decay, we may not be able to save your natural tooth. Instead, we may recommend tooth extraction and replacement. We can replace your missing tooth with an implant-supported dental crown or a traditional dental bridge.
To schedule an appointment with us, contact the practice of Andrew G. Mortensen, DDS.