Dentist San Fernando Valley

What Causes Tooth Decay and How It is Treated

What Causes Tooth Decay and How It is TreatedTooth decay stands next to gum disease as one of the most common oral health problems. While very early decay may be repaired through remineralization from the saliva, established cavities must be treated with one of several procedures chosen based on severity and the goals patients have. Here is more about how tooth decay occurs and how our dentist may treat it.

How Tooth Decay Develops

Cavities are the result of erosion by oral bacteria. Although these bacteria do not normally cause cavities, they produce acids that break down tooth enamel after they consume sugar. Besides simple sugars, complex carbohydrates can also contribute to cavities if they remain in the mouth after being pre-digested by saliva. Most commonly found along the gum line, between teeth and on molars, tooth decay results in darkening of the enamel and can lead to destruction of tooth structure and serious infection if left untreated.

Treatments for Tooth Decay

Tooth decay treatment generally involves removal of the damaged area and placement of fillings, inlays, onlays or crowns in order of increasing damage severity. When infection occurs, our dentist may drill into the tooth, remove the damaged tissue and fill the resulting space with medicated material before protecting the tooth with a filling and crown. The most severe tooth decay may require extraction and replacement with implants, dentures or dental bridges.

Patients can reduce their risk of tooth decay with preventive treatments, including daily brushing and flossing, regular cleanings, dental sealants and fluoride applications. At a consultation with our expert in root canal in San Fernando Valley, patients can learn more about how cavities develop and how they are treated.

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