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Tooth Decay

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by Alan R

(Cavities; Dental Caries; Dental Decay)

 

Risk Factors

Everyone has the chance to develop tooth decay. Factors that may increase your risk of cavities include:
Babies are also at risk for developing cavities. Habits that can increase the risk include giving a bottle between regular feedings or while in bed at night.
 

Treatment

Sometimes tooth decay will repair itself. This is most likely if it is caught early.
Treatment for more severe decay includes:

Fillings

When decay reaches the dentin, your dentist will treat it by:
  • Numbing the tooth and surrounding tissue area
  • Removing the decay with instruments
  • Filling the hole with a dental filling; the filling can be silver or tooth colored

Root Canal

  • The tooth is numbed and a hole is drilled through the top of the tooth.
  • Pus and dead tissue are removed from the tooth.
  • The inside of the tooth and the root (nerve) canals are cleaned and filled with a permanent filling.
  • The root (nerve) canal is sealed.
  • A crown is placed on the tooth to protect it.

Tooth Extraction (Removal)

  • Tooth decay and/or tooth infection is too extensive for filling or root canal.
  • A break or crack in the tooth that has allowed for decay is too severe to be repaired.
  • An extensive infection exists between the tooth and gum.
If the tooth is removed, it will be replaced with:
  • A partial bridge
  • A denture
  • A tooth implant
If you are diagnosed with tooth decay, follow your dentist's instructions .
 

RESOURCES

Academy of General Dentistry
http://www.agd.org

American Dental Association
http://www.ada.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Dental Association
http://www.cda-adc.ca

The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association
http://www.cdha.ca

 

References


American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org . Accessed August 13, 2012.


Berkow R. The Merck Manual of Medical Information . New York, NY: Pocket; 2000.


Murdoch-Kinch CA, Mclean ME. Minimally invasive dentistry. J Am Dent Assoc . 2003;134(4):412-414.


National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://report.nih.gov/nihfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=129&key=T. Updated February 2011. Accessed August 13, 2012.


Seal out tooth decay. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/ToothDecay/SealOutToothDecay.htm . Updated March 2011. Accessed August 13, 2012.


Selwitz RH, Ismail AL, Pitts NB. Dental caries. Lancet . 2007:369(9555):51-59.


Statement on early childhood caries. American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/2057.aspx . Accessed August 13, 2012.


Twetman S. Consistent evidence to support the use of xylitol- and sorbitol-containing chewing gum to prevent dental caries. Evid Based Dent . 2009;10(1):10-1.


8/2/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Khadra-Eid J, Baudet D, Fourny M, Sellier E, Brun C, François P. Development of a screening scale for children at risk of baby bottle tooth decay. Arch Pediatr . 2012;19(3):235-241.

 

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