Dental decay is the process of acid softening and dissolving the enamel and dentine of your teeth.
It is caused by the sugars in the food we eat and drink reacting with the bacteria in plaque, which creates an acid that dissolves your teeth. Over time, the acid will produce a cavity (hole) in your tooth. Without treatment, dental decay can cause further damage to your dental health, and may result in the need to remove the tooth.
If the tooth decay is not too serious, your dentist will remove all of the affected area and restore the tooth with a filling. Dental fillings are made to restore and fill the cavity in your tooth, preventing further damage and making sure that your smile stays healthier and happier. You can read more about fillings here.
Without fillings, the cavity caused by dental decay will continue to get bigger. As it gets worse, it can lead to an abscess (a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth) and pain. Without treatment, the tooth may need to be removed and could lead to bone loss, altering the structure of your mouth, changing the way you eat and speak and making you appear prematurely aged.
About Tooth Decay Treatment
Your mouth contains millions of bacteria which build up on the teeth and gums. This bacterium multiplies to form a soft, sticky layer called plaque. Plaque uses the sugar in food and drinks to produce an acid which attacks the tooth surfaces, gradually dissolving the hard outer layer, called enamel. With repeated attacks, the enamel eventually breaks down and a hole, or cavity, will appear.
Once this decay reaches the dentine of the tooth it is irreversible and treatment is needed. Dentine is softer than enamel and decay spreads much quicker here.
Although sugar is a leading factor in dental decay there are other factors which may lead to decay, including:
- Saliva – Saliva is your body’s natural defence against decay. It acts as a buffer to remove sugar acids from the teeth and prevent decay. If you have a low flow of saliva it can lead to an increased risk of dental decay.
- Deep fissures – the groves on the biting surface of your teeth are called fissures. If you have particularly deep fissures it can lead to food packing and are often difficult to clean.
- Overhanging fillings, poorly fitting crowns, bridge or dentures – poorly fitting dental appliances and fillings will often lead to food packing around that area. As the area is often difficult to get to this can lead to decay in these areas.
How does Tooth Decay Treatment work?
About Perfect Smile Dental Fillings
About invisible fillings
- Traditionally, dental fillings were made from metal, such as silver.
- In recent years alternative white or invisible fillings have become more widely-available and are now a popular choice.
- Invisible fillings are made are made from composite materials designed to match the shade of your teeth exactly, making them completely unnoticeable for a fuller, brighter smile.
How are invisible fillings different?
- Unlike traditional fillings, invisible fillings restore 85% to 95% of the original strength of your tooth, improving your overall dental health.
- Invisible fillings also don’t include any mercury, making them safer.
- No matter which type you choose, fillings are designed to prevent further damage from dental decay and keep your perfect smile healthy and happy.
How To Prevent Tooth Decay
At it’s earliest stage, tooth decay can be reversed through the use of fluoride. Once a cavity has formed, however, the damaged part needs to be removed and replaced.
Brushing with fluoride toothpaste and reducing the frequency of sugar intake will dramatically help. Refined sugars such as glucose, sucrose, dextrose and maltose should be particularly avoided whereas the sugar alcohol Xylitol has been proven to help prevent dental decay.
Flossing and using a fluoride mouthwash will also help prevent decay between your teeth as brushing alone can’t clean here.
You should brush and use mouthwash twice daily and floss once a day.
Regular visits to the hygienist not only reduce plaque levels but also monitor how well you are keeping up with your brushing techniques.