How can Tooth Decay be Treated?
As in other infections, tooth decay cannot be treated by giving medicines alone because the decayed tooth structure does not regenerate. However, the progression of dental caries can be stopped by treatment. Treatment often preserves the tooth.
Treatment of tooth decay may involve -
- Fillings - When there is a hole in the teeth, filling is preferred. In filling teeth, the decayed material is removed and replaced with a material such as silver alloy, gold or porcelain. Many dentists consider silver amalgam (alloy) and gold to be stronger and often use them on the back teeth.
- Crowns - If there is extensive decay then multiple fillings may break the remaining tooth. To prevent this crowns are used. The decayed or weakened area is removed and repaired and a covering jacket (crown) is fitted over the remainder of the tooth. Crowns are often made of silver, gold or porcelain.
- Root canal - If the decay is severe, then the nerves of the tooth also get affected. A root canal is recommended in such cases. The center of the tooth, including the nerve and vascular (blood vessel) tissue (pulp), is removed along with decayed portions of the tooth. The roots are filled with a sealing material. The tooth is filled and a crown may be placed over the tooth.
- Tooth extraction - Tooth extraction is performed if the tooth is too far destroyed from the decay process to effectively restore the tooth or if the tooth will probably cause further problems in the future, as may be the case for wisdom teeth.