What is dental decay?
Our mouths contain bacteria and these bacteria love hiding in teeth, eating the sugar we put into our mouths.
This in turns makes acid that burns holes into our teeth over time. Sometimes there are parts of our teeth that don’t get brushed/flossed properly because we can not physically clean the teeth, such as the fissures.
Given enough time without detection by your dentist and proper cleaning, the sugar and acid exposure will lead to tooth decay.
Many people are completely unaware of any problems because they have no symptoms – no physical holes, no pain, no sensitivity. That’s because the nerve, which is deep inside the tooth, is the last to be affected and hence detected by you.
This is why a proper clinical examination and dental X-rays are required to identify the decay early on.
The aim is to avoid advanced decay or fractures in the enamel and permanent nerve damage to a tooth. which means that the need for treatment becomes more complex, extensive and expensive.
What are fillings and restorations?
A tooth filling is where special material is placed into the decayed tooth to restore its original shape and function.
Depending on the size of the cavity, this can be either a filling that fills the centre of your tooth (inlay) or a more extensive one than an inlay and can cover up to the entire biting surface of a tooth (onlay).
Fillings are most commonly used to prevent further damage to a tooth when decay is present. We remove the bacteria and close off the affected area to stop progressive tooth decay.
How are cavities treated?
The cavities that we treat are done in the most conservative way possible. Our aim is to preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible.
We use high quality materials and technology to prepare less tooth surface and help rebuild the structure of the tooth. Careful attention is paid to match the adjacent teeth enamel to create a natural appearance of a healthy tooth.
We can also replace old metallic fillings when this is required with tooth coloured fillings.
Porcelain fillings – inlay/onlay is very similar in appearance from other healthy teeth and can last up to 20 years. These restorations are created using CEREC technology and milled in the practice and bonded onto the tooth all on the same day.
Composite fillings are similar to porcelain fillings; however, they can last 5-10 years when applied to teeth.