How does tooth decay start?
Your teeth are protected on the outside by the hardest substance in the body-enamel. This is the shiny coating that covers the softer, inner part of the tooth-the dentine. Enamel is strong enough to bite, crush and grind even the toughest food, but it can be vulnerable. When the enamel on your teeth is weakened by plaque acid tooth decay can begin. Plaque is a soft sticky layer which covers the teeth and is largely composed of bacteria. Every time that food or drinks containing sugars enter the mouth, the plaque bacteria turn sugars into acid which attacks the tooth surface. Saliva’s the mouth natural defence, diluting and neutralising plaque acid, but it can take up to 2 hours to remove the danger. If sugary food and drinks are consumed frequently, then teeth can be under attack for much of the day. The worst times to have sugary things are between meals and before bed. Children run the greatest risk of decay because teeth are most vulnerable to acid when they are newly formed and many children are allowed frequent sugary snacks and drinks.
What are the signs of tooth decay?
The earliest stages of caries will only be visible to the dentist, so regular check ups are important. As caries progresses the tooth surface becomes discoloured. Eventually the surface layer of the tooth dissolves and the cavity is formed. The early stages of tooth decay are not painful, but pain may arise as decay progresses. In areas of the teeth which cannot be seen, x-rays help to detect decay before too much damage occurs.
Can decay be treated?
The earliest stages of caries can be reversed with fluoride. However, once a cavity has formed the damaged part of the tooth is removed and replaced with a filling. If the caries is left for too long the tooth may develop an abscess and have to be root treated or extracted.
What materials can be used to fill the cavity?
Nowadays fillings are not only functional, but can be natural as well. Many people don’t want silver fillings that show when they laugh or smile because they are more conscious about the way they look. White fillings have always been considered less long lasting than silver amalgam. But there are now new materials available with properties comparable to silver amalgam, and these are proving to be very successful. The life expectancy of a white filling can depend greatly on the size of the filling and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite. The dentist at this clinic can advise you as to where a white filling will be suitable for you mouth or not. Don’t be disappointed if your particular tooth is not suited to a white filling. The cost of white filling start from £60.00 and the cost depend on the size of the cavity and the position of the tooth.
In most teeth silver filling (amalgam) is strong and durable. Amalgam is an alloy containing mercury. The term is commonly used for the amalgam employed as material for dental fillings which consists of mercury (50%), silver (~22-32%), tin (~14%), copper (~8%), and other trace metals. In the 1800s, amalgam became the dental restorative material of choice due to its low cost, ease of application, strength, and durability. The Key to a smile for life
- Avoid sugary snacks and drinks between meals.
- Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Clean between your teeth regularly with floss.
- Visit your dentist every 6 months.