After the decay has been removed, fillings are put in place to help replace the infected tooth structure. It is called a filling because new materials fill the hole that decay has left. It is more common for teeth to be treated with bonded tooth-colored composite resin fillings. If caught early enough, cavities can be handled quickly and painlessly. If not treated, decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth would need root canal treatment or extraction.
Bonding involves adhering a tooth-colored composite resin material to the remaining tooth structure. Bonding can be used to repair the damage done to the tooth by decay, to alter the tooth’s alignment, close gaps between the teeth, or for cosmetic purposes. First, the surface of the tooth is roughened to accept the bonding and hold it. A gel is applied to micro etch the tooth surface, and a primer/bond agent is then applied, so the material adheres to the surface. Then the material itself is placed on the tooth and hardened with intense light. The composite resin material is shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish as a last step.
A sealant is used to fill narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn’t brush, but because they’re too narrow to allow any bristles in between them. These will develop cavities over time, and you don’t want that. So the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.
NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENTS
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for one’s teeth. All these structures are referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten a house’s stability. Signs of unhealthy periodontium (gum disease) may be as follows: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that have pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these signs may mean something is wrong. With the proper care, however, it may be possible to return them to a healthy state. This is where appropriate gum treatments come in. If you’re having a problem, come in and see us so we can take care of it immediately. The procedure usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic. If the gum disease gets too severe, surgery or extraction may need to be used to treat this. It is essential to get it treated at the first sign of a problem.
X-rays are a focused beam of particles through bone, which produces an image on a unique film, showing the structure through which it passed. X-Rays give the familiar black and white images that doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems. They are a necessary part of the diagnostic process, and not using them could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an X-ray of the whole tooth, and supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.
In our office, we use digital radiography, which allows us to take X-rays using 50-70% less radiation versus conventional X-rays. Digital x-ray technology, coupled with computer monitoring, will enable us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of any dental concerns.
Panoramic radiography, also called panoramic x-ray, is a two-dimensional (2-D) dental x-ray examination that captures the entire mouth in a single image, including the teeth, upper and lower jaws, surrounding structures and tissues.