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What Exactly is a Cavity? And What Does the Dentist Do If I Have One?

What Exactly is a Cavity? And What Does the Dentist Do If I Have
By Dr. Greenaway

Simply put, a cavity is a hole in your tooth that is caused
when acid in your mouth eats through the enamel. Along with
cavities, dentists also repair worn or broken teeth, and the
treatments that we use differ depending on the extent of the
damage to your teeth and the results that we want to achieve.
These are the different options that we have to choose from:

Fillings – These are used to repair a hole caused either by a
cavity or tooth wear. The decayed and weakened part of the tooth
is removed, the hole is cleaned and sometimes a resin is painted
inside of the tooth to protect the blood vessels and tiny
nerves. The hole is then packed with filling material, which
either hardens within the first few minutes, or is hardened by
the use of a blue light. The filling materials we use are all
tooth-colored, which means the fillings blend in with your teeth
and won’t detract from your smile.

Crowns – If the cavity in your tooth is large or if the tooth
has been weakened or broken, we use a crown which fits over your
tooth like a cap. First, the decay is removed and then by using
the advanced technology of Cerec, we are able to create the
porcelain crowns in our office and can be applied the same day.
For those patients who grind their teeth, we use a metal infused
porcelain crown. In these cases, the crown is created in a
dental laboratory and when the finished crown is received back
in our office, we apply it to your prepared tooth.

Inlays and Onlays – Both inlays and onlays are similar to
fillings, but like some crowns they are created in a laboratory
and then cemented to your tooth. An inlay goes on the biting
surface while an onlay covers a larger portion of a tooth. Since
inlays and onlays are very strong and more durable than
fillings, they can often be the best option when we are
repairing teeth like molars that are used for chewing and

Root Fillings (Also known as Root Canals) – At the very center
of each tooth there is a core of nerves and blood vessels in an
area that is called a ‘root canal.’ When a cavity is very deep
or if an injury has destroyed some of the tissue in the center,
the tooth becomes prone to infection. This sometimes results in
an abscess, which is an area of pus that forms in the root
canal. When this happens, that area has to be cleaned before the
tooth can be repaired and filled. Once the area is cleaned, we
place a temporary filling in the root canal to ensure that all
infection has been removed before the permanent filling or crown
is placed on your tooth.

Veneers – If a tooth has been broken or chipped, a veneer (a
thin layer of porcelain that is tooth-colored) is placed over
the surface of your tooth to strengthen it and to cover the
broken or chipped area. Veneers are created in a dental lab from
a mold of your tooth or teeth that are being repaired. When the
veneer is done, we cement it to your tooth (or teeth) where it
will last for many years.

Bridges, Implants, Partials and Full Dentures – When a tooth
has to be pulled because of excessive damage, one of these
options can be used to replace your missing tooth or teeth,
depending on the number of teeth we are replacing and the
condition of your gums and jaw bone.

The best approach is always to try to avoid dental cavities,
but when they do occur, see your dentist as soon as you can so
that your teeth can be repaired and returned to being strong and
healthy. Kind regards,  Fall Creek Dentistry

About the Author: Dr. Greenaway attended Indiana University
Dental School and graduated with honors in 1999. In addition to
taking care of her patients at Fall Creek Dentistry, she has
traveled to Romania, Kosovo, and Honduras to provide dental
outreach. Please visit her site at http://fallcreekdentistry.com

Source: http://www.isnare.com

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