The leading cause of tooth loss among children and adults alike is tooth decay. Tooth decay happens when the bacteria in your mouth combines with the sugar from the carbohydrates you eat to form an acid. With the continuous exposure to acid, the enamel of your tooth will start to wear out, thus resulting to cavities or decays in its surface. If left unmanaged, these decays can lead to dental infection and infect other tooth structures: the dentin and the pulp. Severe tooth infection that is not treated could result to an eventual tooth loss. Factors that could put you at risk for tooth decay are: poor oral hygiene, unhealthy diet (high sugar intake), bad habits (smoking and recreational drugs), systemic health condition such as diabetes, and xerostomia or dry mouth, which is common among the adult population.
There are many ways to restore teeth that are destroyed by cavities. Tooth restoration depends on the severity or extent of the damage caused by tooth decay. Your dentist will decide what treatment or combination of treatments is best to restore your decayed tooth. These treatments are:
- Dental fillings – After cleaning and removing the decayed part of the tooth, a dental filling is used to fill the holes created by cavities, to restore your tooth’s natural appearance.
- Dental crowns – These are used to restore severely damaged tooth which cannot be repaired by dental fillings. After removing the decayed part of the tooth, a ‘cap’ shaped like tooth is placed over the tooth to restore its natural appearance and function.
- Root canal treatment – When the decay or infection has reached the pulp of the tooth, a root canal treatment is done to remove the decayed pulp tissues. This procedure is used to restore and rescue the tooth from being extracted.
- Dental extraction – It is done when all restorative options cannot fix the damage caused tooth decay.
With the innovations in dental technology, you can replace the missing tooth caused by tooth decay. Tooth replacement options include:
- Dental bridges – These appliances make use of healthy adjacent teeth to serve as abutments and keep the bridge in place.
- Dental implants – These are used to replace the root of your tooth. They are important in maintaining your facial structure and prevent bone loss caused by tooth loss. An implant is a healthy alternative to support a dental bridge in place than using the remaining teeth in your mouth.
- Dentures – These are used to replace one or more missing teeth. They can be removable or fixed in place with the help of dental implants.
You may want to ask your dentist or make an inquiry to a dental clinic in your area regarding the different dental restorative services they offer.