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A cavity is caused by the acid produced by the bacteria in your mouth and on your teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly, as well as regular dental cleanings will greatly reduce the likelihood that this acid will have the chance to erode a hole in your tooth (cavity). Unlike bone and skin, a tooth is not able to heal itself or fill in the hole. That’s why a dental filling is necessary.
At first, the cavity isn’t painful. If it gets large enough and deep enough to reach the nerve, it will become extremely painful. Regular dental visits will allow us to catch cavities in the early stages and avoid more extensive and expensive dental treatment. When filling a tooth, we clean out the bacteria and debris, and fill it with a hard material that will allow the tooth to continue to function normally. We offer a choice of tooth-colored filling material (composite), or the traditional silver filling material (amalgam). Amalgam fillings tend to be sturdier and last longer and are recommended for back teeth. If you need a filling in a front tooth that will be visible when you smile or talk, a composite will be less noticeable.
When plaque builds up along the gum line, it leads to gingivitis and then periodontal disease if not corrected. The bacteria in plaque irritate and inflame the gums, causing them to swell and bleed with brushing. The swelling breaks the seal that the gums create around the teeth, allowing plaque and tartar to move down into the roots of the teeth. If left untreated, this can cause pockets of infection or abscesses The infection attacks the bone, and the erosion of bone causes the teeth to loosen and fall out. It is important to note that the same bacteria that causes gum disease has also been implicated in a higher incidence of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
The process of scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning of the areas around the roots of the teeth, removing both tartar and plaque. Once the roots are clean and smooth, and any debris and plaque are removed, the gums can begin to heal and reseal around the teeth. Routine dental cleanings and a good home care routine should keep gingivitis from returning. The mouth is divided into four quadrants and one or two quadrants are done at each visit. We can “numb” your mouth to make this a more comfortable procedure. If you have periodontal disease, the bone loss can’t be reversed. But regular dental care can keep it from getting worse.
Root Canal Treatment
The thought of a root canal is scary to most people. The majority of root canals are tolerated well and uneventful. They are a routine procedure. The only ones people talk about are the ones that are difficult. This is usually due to waiting too long to seek treatment. When done in a timely manner discomfort is minimal. When was the last time someone came up to and said “I just had a great root canal”. You hear about the “difficult” ones, which is a small percentage of all root canals.
A root canal cleans out diseased nerve tissue from the roots allowing the tooth to be saved and repaired so it can function and appear normal again. The area is “numbed” prior to treatment. We also offer nitrous oxide or laughing gas to make you more relaxed and comfortable. Once the root canal is completed the tooth is restored to function and esthetics with a dental crown.