Dental caries is inevitable if good oral hygiene is not practiced on a regular basis. The buildup of plaque over time provides a firm hold for bacteria, which in turn releases cavity causing acids that eat away at the tooth.
Tooth decay begins with a tiny hole. It can spread rapidly to the the pulp, damage the nerve in the root canal and can affect other teeth as well. The consequent degradation will be very difficult to stop unless quick remedial steps are taken.
To this end, there is not much in the way of natural treatments for tooth decay as it indicates structural damage. There are typically four methods to treat the condition, depending on the severity of the degradation.
Ways To Treat Tooth Decay
When the tooth has begun to show signs of eroding, it is a good idea to visit your dentist to ensure that the erosion of the enamel is quickly checked. In such circumstances, the dentist would use a fluoride wash or gel on the affected tooth. This will arrest the development of the cavity and give the dentin time to heal.
While most of us brush our teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste, in more concentrated forms, it is used to treat tooth decay. However, the required measure of fluoride is something only a dentist can advise you on so be sure to get an expert’s opinion instead of self-medicating.
If you experience sharp sensitivity while drinking hot or cold fluids or while eating sugary foods, it is likely you have a cavity. Once the tooth decay erodes the enamel exposing the dentin, the rate of decay increases since dentin is less brittle.
This is what causes sensitivity when the affected tooth comes into contact with liquids. Once you have reached this stage, fluoride treatments can offer little help. Your dentist will need to drill and remove the decayed parts of the tooth and replace with a filling.
Fillings are restorative material and can be either composite resin, silver alloy, gold or porcelain (ceramic). The composite resin and glass ionomer cement are tooth colored and are the most commonly used fillings.
Gold and silver, also known as amalgam fillings, are more expensive but are considered more durable than their tooth colored counterparts, especially when used as fillings for molars.
Root Canal Treatment
RCT is required when the tooth decay has spread from the dentin to the pulp. The procedure involves drilling through the tooth and removing the nerve and infected pulp.
Allowing the tissue to remain may lead to further dental complications like tooth abscesses and irreversible damage. Once the root canal is cleaned, it is sealed with a filling.
A crown is overlaid to protect the tooth. Root canal procedures are normally considered to be very painful. However, the surrounding area of the infected tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic and only then the tooth is drilled.
In cases where the tooth decay is extensive, a root canal procedure may not be an option. Rather than risk infecting other teeth, the severely infected tooth will have to be extracted.
Since this may cause a change in the arrangement of the teeth and may lead to other problems, an implant is used to replace the extracted tooth.