Your biggest defense against tooth decay, in addition to your daily brushing and flossing efforts, is coming in to see your dentist for periodic checkups and cleanings. This allows us to detect and treat any issues early when they are least invasive and most affordably fixed. At your checkups we search for signs of cavities along with the early signs of gum disease, and make sure old fillings are secure and not leaking which can cause further decay. Checkups allow us to catch issues in the early stages where there is still no pain and you may not be aware of developing problems.
If we detect the early stage of decay at a regular dental checkup, we can apply fluoride treatment to restore the tooth enamel. This only takes a few minutes and then your tooth enamel will be protected. While you may be getting some fluoride from drinking tap water, or using fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash, it just may not be enough.
Dental fillings are the next stage in tooth decay if the decay has advanced beyond enamel erosion. Fillings may be made from composite resin, porcelain or amalgam fillings (a combination of material).
If the decay has progressed to the point that the tooth structure is weakened, we may advise placing a crown on the tooth. First we will remove all decay in the area and shape what is left of the tooth material to fit the crown material. Crown material can include porcelain, gold, or resin.
Once tooth decay reaches the pulp you will need a root canal. This still saves the tooth as only the diseased pulp is removed and the cavity is filled. To treat any lingering infection you will also receive antibiotics.
Pulling the Tooth
If the tooth is damaged beyond repair we will recommend removal. Now, this will also leave a gap where the tooth was located allowing the surrounding teeth to shift, so we may recommend a bridge or dental implant to restore your smile.
Fixing cavities can be relatively simple depending on the stage of its development. Maintaining regular dental checkups is an excellent preventative option and we are happy to help. To schedule a visit with our skilled dentist, Dr. Michael King, please call our Team Dental at River Oaks and Burke team in Burke, Virginia at 703-801-6166 today!