Dental caries, commonly known as tooth decay or cavities, is a bacterial infection that destroys the hard tissues of the teeth. It is the most common chronic disease in children, and it affects people of all ages.
The bacteria that cause dental caries feed on the sugars and starches in the foods we eat. As they feed, they produce acid that can dissolve the tooth enamel, creating small holes or cavities in the teeth. If left untreated, these cavities can grow larger and deeper, eventually reaching the inner pulp of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are located. This can cause severe pain, infection, and even tooth loss.
There are several factors that can increase the risk of developing dental caries. These include a diet high in sugary and starchy foods, poor oral hygiene, and a lack of fluoride in the water or toothpaste. Additionally, some people are more susceptible to dental caries due to genetics, certain medical conditions, and certain medications that can dry out the mouth.
To prevent dental caries, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly and visiting the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. It is also important to limit the amount of sugary and starchy foods in the diet, and to use toothpaste that contains fluoride.
If dental caries is caught in its early stages, it can often be treated with a simple filling. The dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and fill the cavity with a material such as amalgam, composite resin, or gold. If the decay has reached the inner pulp of the tooth, a root canal procedure may be necessary to remove the infected tissue and save the tooth.
In severe cases, dental caries can lead to tooth loss. In these cases, the dentist may recommend a tooth replacement option such as a dental implant, bridge, or denture.
Dental caries is a preventable disease, and with good oral hygiene and regular dental care, it can be kept under control. By taking care of your teeth and gums, you can help prevent the pain and discomfort of dental caries and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile for life.
White Fillings (Composite Restorations)
The majority of fillings placed at Greenbank Dental are white composite fillings designed to closely resemble the original enamel of the tooth. These white composite fillings are bonded directly to the tooth structure and this allows them to be significantly smaller than traditional silver amalgam fillings. This is ideal for the patient, as it requires less tooth removal. White composite fillings require isolation from saliva when they are being placed. In situations where the tooth cannot be kept dry, and where aesthetics are not a concern, silver amalgam fillings may be used.