Cavity Treatment - Restorative Dentistry

By Eugene D. Stanislaus on March 01, 2010

Cavities are holes in the structure of the tooth that are easily treatable. Caused by plaque, cavities affect children and adults alike. As plaque builds up on the teeth, the acid begins to eat away at the enamel and structure of the tooth. Though people may associate cavities with tooth aches, most patients do not experience pain until the cavity begins to affect the nerves of the tooth. Good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist prevent plaque from building and causing damage.

Cavities are often detected in the early stages of decay during a visit to the dentist. When a cavity is detected, the dentist will remove the decay with a drill and fill the cavity with amalgam, gold, or tooth-colored composite resin. Cavities in the back molars require filling materials that are strong and sturdy, since these teeth bear much of the brunt of chewing. The front teeth are filled with porcelain or composite resin so that the dental work blends in with the rest of the smile. In either case, fillings reinforce the structure of the tooth to prevent it from further damage.

Large cavities are treated with dental inlays, onlays, or dental crowns. These treatments restore the structure when decay compromises the shape of the tooth. Inlays are made of porcelain and are placed on the surface of the tooth. Onlays are also made of porcelain and are placed on the cusps of the tooth. Crowns, made of metal, porcelain, or a combination of the two materials, reinforce the overall structure of the tooth by covering it entirely. Used when damage to the tooth is extensive or as the final step in root canal therapy, crowns maintain the functionality of the tooth. The porcelain material that many choose for these treatments creates uniformity with the rest of the smile, concealing the dental work.


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