Tooth Decay and Dental Fillings

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Minimally Invasive dentistry is what we believe in .At Aggarwal Dental Clinic , special care is taken to avoid cutting of healthy tooth structure and white fillings are done with the help of chemical bonding with blue Halogen light. The materials used for these fillings are composites and Glass ionomers from leading brands like 3M , Kulzer, GC Fuji and Dentsply.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tooth Decay

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth Decay describes the conditions wherein the tooth, under a variety of harsh conditions, breaks down leading to the formation of a cavity. It starts with a hole/opening in the enamel. If this is not treated, it progressively reaches the deeper sections of the tooth, where the pulp and the nerves are causing the tooth to become sensitive to a variety of stimuli, a variety of gum problems such as inflammation and swelling, pain, and ultimately tooth loss.

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Is it very common?

Tooth decay is a common dental ailment that may occur at any time of age. However, since the onset of tooth decay is strongly related to the unregulated consumption of sweet foods and beverages, it tends to affect the young and adolescents more than any other age. One form is diagnosed in nursing infants and is referred to as nursing caries.

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What are the causes of Tooth Decay?

  • POOR ORAL HYGIENE : Irregular and improper brushing, not flossing between teeth, not rinsing with water or mouthwash after meals speed up the process of tooth decay.
  • UNREGULATED DIET OF SWEET FOOD AND DRINKS : Periodic snacking on aerated drinks, jam, marmalade, even potato chips can lead to the formation of acidic by products which damage the surface of the tooth enamel. This is the reason why most young children adolescents suffer from tooth decay.
  • BAD OR WORN OUT DENTAL FILLINGS : Tooth decay might develop again from exposed tooth surfaces.

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What can I do if I have Tooth Decay?

If you have developed black or brown spots of decay on your teeth either in the fissures or on the smooth surfaces and it is associated with discomfort and/or sensitivity to hot and cold and/or frank pain, it is likely that you have tooth decay. Your dentist will evaluate you comprehensively and based on his clinical and radiographic findings he will do one of the following

  • Make an opening in the crown and remove decay, shape the cavity and fill it with a tooth coloured filling or an amalgam filling. This could also be done under local anaesthesia.
  • If the decay is very deep and pulp (nerve, root canal) is involved in the decay process he will, under local anaesthesia go deeper into the pulp chamber, remove the pulp and the nerve, render it free of infection, do a root filling and later put an amalgam or a tooth coloured filling. Subsequently he will put a veneer or a crown on the tooth as the case may be.

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Prevention is the best cure for Tooth Decay.

Certain preventive measures are known to reduce the risk of tooth decay. You must practice these good dental habits.

BRUSHING

Brush your teeth twice a day. Hold a soft brush at the gum line at a 45° angle. Brush in a circular motion to massage the gums and an up-down motion to dislodge plague. Do this gently on the outer as well as inner surfaces of teeth.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT TOOTHBRUSH

Dentists recommend using a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months or as soon as it loses it's original shape. Once a brush loses its shape, you require more pressure for the same cleaning action. This extra pressure is damaging to gums as well as the protective enamel layer.

FLOSS

Floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth. Take about 18" of floss and wrap most of it around your middle finger and the rest around the middle finger of the other hand, leaving a 2" length between them. Using your thumb and forefinger, gently scrape the side of each tooth away from the gum.

RINSE

Rinse your mouth with water thoroughly after each meal. Rinse for a minute everyday with mouthwash.

DIET

Reducing the frequency of in take of sweets during the day, decreases the number of 'acid attack' by the digestive breakdown of these foods in the mouth. This prevents further damage to the tooth.

Expectant mothers must be particularly careful with their diet and must make sure that it contains all the necessary nutrients and vitamins [described below] since the foundation of a child's teething is laid early in the second trimester [3 to 6 months]

A balanced diet that includes all food groups such as fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, cereals as well as other grain products, Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, poultry, fish provides the essential nutrients required for dental growth.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Fillings (FAQ)

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If my tooth doesn’t hurt and my filling is still in place, why would the filling need to be replaced?

Constant pressure from chewing, grinding or clenching can cause dental fillings, or restorations, to wear away, chip or crack. Although you may not be able to tell that your filling is wearing down, your dentist can identify weaknesses in your restorations during a regular check-up.

If the seal between the tooth enamel and the restoration breaks down, food particles and decay-causing bacteria can work their way under the restoration. You then run the risk of developing additional decay in that tooth. Decay that is left untreated can progress to infect the dental pulp and may cause an abscess.

If the restoration is large or the recurrent decay is extensive, there may not be enough tooth structure remaining to support a replacement filling. In these cases, your dentist may need to replace the filling with a crown.

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Are dental amalgams safe?

Yes. Dental amalgam has been used in tooth restorations worldwide for more than 100 years. Studies have failed to find any link between amalgam restorations and any medical disorder. Amalgam continues to be a safe restorative material for dental patients.

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Is it possible to have an allergic reaction to amalgam?

Only a very small number of people are allergic to amalgam fillings. Fewer than 100 cases have ever been reported. In these rare instances, mercury may trigger an allergic response. Symptoms of amalgam allergy are very similar to a typical skin allergy.
Often patients who are truly allergic to amalgam have a medical or family history of allergies to metals. If there is a confirmed allergy, another restorative material will be used.

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Is it true that dental amalgams have been banned in other countries?

No. Erroneous news reporting has confused restrictions in a few countries with outright bans. Dentists around the world are using dental amalgams (silver fillings) to restore teeth that have dental decay. Studies have not shown a link between dental amalgam and any medical disorder.

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Is there a filling material that matches tooth color?

Yes. Composite resins are tooth-colored, plastic materials (made of glass and resin) that are used both as fillings and to repair defects in the teeth. Because they are tooth-colored, it is difficult to distinguish them from natural teeth. Composites are often used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important. They can be used on the back teeth as well depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay. Composite resins are usually more costly than amalgam fillings.

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