Although cosmetic dentistry has commanded much of the limelight in recent years due to its extraordinary transformative powers, general dentistry remains the foundation of every healthy, attractive smile. Ultimately, without good oral health to serve as its base, an aesthetically pleasing smile would be like a broken anniversary clock: beautiful, but not functional.
One of the most important purposes of general dentistry is to prevent minor oral health problems from developing into major dental catastrophes by diagnosing and treating them in their earliest possible stages. At the family dental practice of Thomas Tang, DDS, we are best able to do this when patients visit our practice twice a year for professional cleanings and thorough oral exams as recommended by the American Dental Association.
Tooth decay is among the most common dental problems we diagnose during routine oral exams. Fortunately, we offer a range of highly effective tooth decay treatments at our Brookfield cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry practice. By treating decay before it has a chance to spread, we are able to restore full form and function to our patients’ teeth while protecting them from tooth pain and helping them to avoid more costly and involved treatments in the future.
Common Treatments for Tooth Decay
Tooth decay occurs when the strong outer layer of enamel that protects a tooth erodes, leaving the tooth’s more vulnerable underlying layer of dentin exposed and in a position to be easily damaged by bacteria or trauma. Once such damage occurs, it is necessary for the decayed portion to be removed to protect the remainder of the tooth; otherwise, the chambers at the center of the tooth - the root canals - can become infected. Aside from being extremely painful, root canal infections will require surgical intervention in order to salvage the tooth. Without this intervention, the tooth will die and fall out.
Fortunately, if tooth decay is caught in its earliest stages, the damage can usually be halted before it extends to the root canal. Once the damaged portion is removed, it can be replaced with either a tooth-colored filling or an inlay or an onlay:
- Tooth-colored fillings are as strong and durable as their silver amalgam counterparts, but are made of a metal-free composite resin that blends inconspicuously into virtually any smile.
- Inlays are porcelain restorations that are customized to replace missing tooth matter within the cusps of a tooth.
- Onlays are porcelain restorations that are customized to replace missing tooth matter that extends to one or more cusps of a tooth.
If the damage to a tooth is too extensive to support a tooth-colored filling, inlay, or onlay, Dr. Tang may cover the entire tooth with a custom-crafted dental crown. Dental crowns replicate the entire visible portion of the tooth, restoring its strength and appearance while protecting it from further harm.
Learn More about Tooth Decay Treatments
To learn more about treatments for tooth decay, please contact the cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry practice of Thomas Tang, DDS today.