Tooth Decay (cavities)/Toothache
Decay occurs when plague, a sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and /or starches of the food we eat. This combination produces acid that attacks tooth enamel leaving behind the cavity and sometimes leading to severe pain. The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing twice a day, flossing daily and going for regular dental check-ups. Eating healthy food and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are also ways to prevent decay.
Signs & Symptoms
There may be no symptoms. If symptoms occur, they may include:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Mild to sharp pain while eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold
- Visible holes or pits in your teeth
- Pain when you bite down
- Swelling around the tooth
- Fever or headache
- Foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth
A tooth ache is pain in and around a tooth that may be caused by:
- Tooth decay
- Abscessed tooth
- Tooth fracture
- A damaged filling
- Repetitive motions, such as grinding teeth
- Infected gums
The most preferred treatment for cavity is known as dental filling. Dental filling is carried out in the following ways varying from case-to-case.
Porcelain Inlays or Onlays
Inlays are indirect fillings applied in back teeth (premolars, molars). After removal of the old, defective filling or caries, an impression is made of the cavity (that is the drilled out). A filling is then made in the laboratory from ceramic, which fits the cavity with utmost precision and restores the original form of the tooth. Then the Inlay is cemented into place. Large Inlays which cover the cusps are referred to as Onlays.
A dental crown fits over the remaining part of a tooth, helping to strengthen it and making it look like a whole, natural tooth once again. Your tooth may be decayed and not strong enough to be filled any more, the top part of the tooth may have been accidentally damaged, or you may need one following a root canal treatment. Crowns not only strengthen the remaining tooth, but also can improve the look of your smile and cover large dark fillings. Types of crowns include full porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, and all metal.
Bridges are a permanent and realistic looking way of filling a gap between teeth that has been caused by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is an appliance which holds one or more false teeth on it. It is usually made of a precious metal base such as gold, with tooth-colored porcelain bonded to any visible areas to make it look natural.
A diastema is a space between the front teeth. Diastemas are often closed by orthodontic alignment of the teeth into contact. Orthodontic treatment uses brackets and wires to place pressure on the teeth and gradually realign them into a more desirable position. After the braces and wires are removed the person must wear a plastic retainer for several months to hold his or her new smile in place.
Bonding is another name for white fillings in the front teeth which are used as a relatively simple method of disguising small defects such as chipped or crooked teeth or gaps between teeth. The procedure involves preparing your teeth with an etching solution which we simply paint on, and then applying the tooth-colored filling material (resin) to your teeth. We carefully shape the resin to give it a natural appearance, and bond it into place. This procedure does not usually need a local anesthetic.