Restorative Dentistry – Faqs

What are cavities or dental decay?

Decay or dental caries is a disease in which the tooth is destroyed by softening as a result of growth of microorganisms on and around the teeth in presence of food particles.

How do cavities form on the tooth?

The microorganisms that exist in mouth along with the food remains form a sticky thin and translucent layer on the tooth called dental plaque. The plaque in initial stages can easily be removed by brushing and flossing. If it is not removed, the plaque gets attached firmly to the teeth and the bacteria multiply and in the process release mild acids that destroy the tooth structure. The enamel gets destroyed layer by layer and the bacteria gradually penetrate deeper into the tooth. The affected part of the tooth gets weakened and breaks during chewing and results in a cavity. The process is slow and continues until proper treatment is executed.

Can a badly decayed tooth be saved?

If sufficient sound tooth structure remains, then the tooth can be saved by covering the whole tooth with a metal crown / cap. A dentist specialized in crown and bridge prostheses will be the best person to treat such teeth.

Can a filled or restored tooth get decayed?

Yes, even a cavity filled with a permanent filling can develop dental caries below the filling. Hence, better care by brushing, flossing the restored tooth along with routine checkup will enhance the long-term success.

Does an abscessed tooth need to be removed?

Dental abscess is the extension of infection from the tooth to the underlying bone. Once, active infection is controlled by antibiotics, the tooth is treated by special procedure called root canal filling. This helps the tooth to be retained in position and function normally.

Can any dentist do all types of fillings?

Any dentist can do routine fillings. Badly decayed teeth and root canal treatment are better handled by a dentist specialized in restorative dentistry and endodontics.

What is a temporary filling?

If the dental decay is close to the pulp a medicated layer of filling is placed over the affected area and a temporary filling is done. Once the pulp heals the temporary restoration is removed and a permanent filling is done.

What is a permanent filling?

While temporary fillings are meant to last a few months only the permanent fillings last longer. Well made permanent fillings can last decades if not a life time.

Can you fill a cavity with a material that is the same color as the tooth?

Filling materials are available that are similar in color to tooth color. These are thus very esthetic in appearance and match the color of the teeth. These filling materials are called composites.

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