No one wants a cavity, but most of us realize they can be dealt with relatively easily.
On the other hand, if you don’t take care of your tooth decay, it can lead to problems that are much more difficult — not to mention more expensive — to fix.
You deserve a healthy smile, and our team at McNulty & Dancausse General Dentistry will do our part to help you keep it. In order to do that, however, you need to visit us for regular dental cleanings and exams.
If you haven’t scheduled your next checkup yet, please call our Charlotte, NC dental office today at 704-766-8662.
Then, take a few moments to learn how tooth decay could steal you smile and ways that restorative dentistry could bring it back.
It Starts Small
You also should know that 92 percent of Americans will have at least one cavity during their lives. Let’s assume that you don’t have a cavity at this moment. What should you be looking for?
- Black, brown, or white stains on a tooth
- Holes or pits in a tooth
- Pain when biting or chewing with a particular tooth
- Increased sensitivity to hot or cold drinks and food
- A toothache
Any one of these is a sign that something is wrong. By seeking treatment at this stage, you can usually take care of the problem with a dental filling.
You can get a tooth-colored filling at our office. By using a composite resin instead of metal, your filling can be made to match the color of your real tooth. This way you can protect yourself against further decay and restore your natural smile.
It Grows Gradually
For a variety of reasons, many people do not get cavities treated at this point. The longer the decay remains on your tooth, the more damage it will do.
At some point, a tooth filling is not going to be enough to fix your smile. You may need a dental crown instead.
Crowns, sometimes called caps, are shaped and shaded to look like a real tooth. The modern materials used to make them are durable as well, so you can bite and chew like you would like with your healthy teeth.
To prepare a tooth for a crown, the decayed portion is removed. When it’s ready, your crown is bonded to the healthy part of your tooth for support.
In some instances, your decay may be too much for a cavity, but not bad enough to require a full crown. For those situations, you can get an inlay or onlay depending on where the damage has been done to your tooth.
It Can Really Get Painful
Tooth sensitivity can give way to constant pain or throbbing pain. This is a clue that you may have developed a tooth infection. That could mean that you need a root canal treatment.
Whether you normally have dental anxiety or not, we know this procedure makes a lot of people nervous. How do we know this? We’ve seen the looks on countless patients when we’ve had to give them this news.
You don’t need to worry. Modern techniques for root canal procedures have made this practically painless. Many people have told us that this no worse than getting a filling when they were finished.
When you have an infected tooth, that means bacteria has reached the soft tissue at the center of your tooth. To treat this, you need to remove that inflame tissue. With the help of sedation dentistry, you can do this without feeling anything.
Once the tissue is removed, we have a special material to fill your tooth. Then, we can attach a crown to bring back the full function and appearance of your smile.
It Can Be Hard to Say Goodbye
The stages we described don’t happen overnight, so you have a large window of opportunity to preserve your tooth once something goes wrong. Even so, you may not schedule your appointment in time to save it.
Your tooth will get weaker and weaker as bacteria are able to keep eating away at it. It’s often necessary to extract a tooth that has gotten so weak that even a root canal can’t save it. This is to done to prevent the infection from spreading.
At the same time, you should look to replace your missing tooth. Leaving a gap in your smile can allow drifting (which can alter your bite), and it can leave you vulnerable to losing more teeth.
You can replace your missing tooth by getting a dental bridge. This is created by fusing crowns together and bonding the bridge to nearby healthy teeth.
Another great option is getting an implant-supported crown. A dental implant replaces the root of your extracted tooth, and the crown replaces what’s left of your removed tooth.
Don’t Wait to Save Your Smile
If you discover that you have a leak in your plumbing, you know that fixing it sooner is better than fixing it later. Leaks don’t repair themselves. They grow bigger, get worse, and create more problem the longer they exist.
If you think of tooth decay the same way, it can encourage you to get the help that you need as early as you can. You’ve read above how a cavity can lead to tooth loss if you let it go untreated.
You don’t have to let that happen to your smile. If you live in or near Charlotte, NC, you can visit us to get the care that you need.
Here for You
You want to keep your smile looking its best. You also want your mouth to be as healthy as possible. Whether you want to prevent a problem or take care of a problem that’s developing, you can do that at McNulty & Dancausse General Dentistry.