If you are being honest with yourself, you probably don’t brush your teeth perfectly every time. And if you are like most people, you don’t floss every day (even though the American Dental Association recommends doing so).
Regardless, you want a healthy smile, which means you want to keep your teeth healthy, too. That’s why it’s so important to seek help at the first sign of any dental problem.
If you live in or near San Diego, you can get the smile-saving benefits of restorative dentistry by visiting our office. Brian Davey, DDS, is ready to help. You just need to call 858-762-9991 to make your appointment with us.
It’s Starts with Tooth Decay
More than 90 percent of the US population will develop a cavity during their lives. That’s according to the National Institutes of Health.
For the sake of your smile, we hope that you remain among the few people who go through life cavity-free. We also would encourage you to prepare to be among the vast majority when and if you notice the symptoms of tooth decay:
- Increased tooth sensitivity, particularly to hot or cold
- Visible pits in your tooth
- Pain of a toothache or when you put pressure on that tooth
- Dark spots forming on a tooth
Any of these is a good reason to schedule a dental visit as soon as you are able. As you will read later, your problems could get much worse. You are much better off treating this problem now with a dental filling.
At our office, you will be happy to know that we use metal-free fillings. Instead, our fillings are made with a composite resin. This can be shaded to match the color of your natural tooth and polished so it blends in seamlessly with the rest of your smile.
Cavities Do Get Worse
Let’s assume for now that you ignore the dark, painful tooth in your mouth. You try to chew your food and sip your morning coffee on the other side of your mouth.
The cavity will get bigger. The pain will get worse, and every day, your tooth is getting weaker as well.
By the time you decide to do something, a dental filling may not be enough to repair your smile. Instead, you may need a dental crown. The good news is that this is an effective way to restore the full function of your tooth. You can eat without pain again. Modern materials also look remarkably like natural teeth, so your crown can revive your smile as well.
By coming to Dr. Davey’s, you also can get a CEREC same-day crown. Instead of waiting several days or weeks for a dental lab to make your crown and ship it to us, we can design and place your crown in a single visit.
To place your crown, you will need to remove the decayed parts of your tooth. This will leave behind the healthy parts of your tooth to provide support for your new crown. When they are bonded together, your tooth can look and feel as good as new.
An Infection Sets In
Even so, many people don’t go to the dentist when a crown would have all they needed. Your cavity gets larger as bacteria eats deeper into your tooth.
If it reaches the pulp, then you can really be in pain. Pulp is a soft connective tissue found in the pulp chamber and the root canals of your teeth. Along with pulp, these parts of your tooth also have blood vessels and nerves.
When pulp becomes infected, it also can become inflamed. That can put pressure on your blood vessels and your nerves. (We don’t need to tell you that’s bad.)
At this point, you need to remove the infection, and you do that with a root canal treatment.
Before you get worried, you should know that root canals are not like what you’ve seen in the movies. They are also different than what your uncle told you about when he had one decades ago. With modern techniques and sedation options, getting a root canal procedure is really no worse than getting a dental filling.
When the infection is removed, we will fill the tooth to support it and help prevent another infection. We can cap the tooth with a crown so it looks and feels natural, too.
Again, you don’t want your tooth to get to this point, but if you do, you can still save it.
Does the Tooth Need to be Removed?
Keeping what you just read in mind, there does come a point when a tooth simply cannot be saved. The longer you allow bacteria to weaken your tooth, the less likely our team will have a chance to save it.
If we recommend a tooth extraction, it’s because that is the best option for your long-term oral health. You probably want to keep your teeth, so hopefully, it won’t reach this point.
However, you can schedule a tooth removal at our office if necessary. This does create new issues. A gap in your smile can allow teeth to shift around and can increase your risk of losing more teeth.
That’s why we’ll also want to talk to you about tooth replacement options, such as a dental implant-supported crown. The implant replaces the root of your tooth, and it holds the crown securely in place. Again, this looks and feels like a real tooth when everything is in place.
It is significantly more costly than a tooth filling, so remember that if and when you do notice a cavity starting to form.
Don’t Wait to Save Your Smile
Plan A for your oral health should focus on preventive care. This means daily brushing and flossing and routine professional cleanings and exams.
If you do develop a problem, plan B should be calling 858-762-9991 or contacting us online right away. Making an appointment with Dr. Davey at our San Diego, CA dental office today can save you a lot of time and trouble tomorrow.