Cavity Treatments to Restore Oral Health
By on September 08, 2015
The mouth is an ideal environment for bacteria, so it is no surprise that tooth decay (which is caused by the build up of bacteria) is such a common problem for dental patients. General dentistry services help to prevent oral health problems, but dental cavities can still form in the teeth. While untreated dental cavities can pose a serious risk to a patient’s oral health, there are options that allow Dr. Richard Ribeiro to effectively treat these imperfections and restore the health and strength of a patient’s tooth before more serious complications develop. There are several treatments for cavities at our Clarksville practice, but Dr. Ribeiro will determine which is right for each patient based on their unique needs and desires.
A dental filling is the standard treatment for a dental cavity that is small to moderate in size. Dental fillings are direct restorations that are shaped onto the tooth to fill in the holes that are left by decay and seal off the inner tooth to prevent infection. There are a couple of options available to patients who need a dental filling. Primarily, patients will have a choice between silver fillings or tooth-colored fillings. Below is some information about each of these treatment options:
- Silver fillings: Silver fillings, which are referred to as amalgam fillings, are composed of a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper, and mercury. These fillings are strong and durable but have the obvious downside of being gray in color. While most patients prefer tooth-colored fillings, silver fillings may be appropriate for the treatment of the back teeth.
- Tooth-colored fillings: Tooth-colored fillings are made of a composite material that can be colored to blend in with a patient’s natural teeth. These fillings are also durable and actually bond with the natural tooth to improve its strength. Many patients opt for tooth-colored fillings because of their aesthetic benefits.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are restorations that may be considered for the treatment of dental fillings. Inlays and onlays are ideal when cavities are particularly large. More specifically, if tooth decay extends to the biting surface of the tooth, or if one or more of the tooth’s cusps have been damaged, an inlay or onlay can restore the health and structure of the tooth. Inlays and onlays are indirect restorations. Much like a dental crown, these restorations are fabricated in a dental lab and then bonded over the natural tooth after it has been cleaned and reshaped. Inlays and onlays replace lost tooth enamel and help to protect the natural tooth.
If tooth decay is advanced, neither a dental filling nor inlays and onlays may offer adequate treatment. In these severe cases of decay, a dental crown will likely be needed to restore the tooth and prevent tooth loss. Dr. Ribeiro will discuss this option with those patients who are in need of more extensive repair.
Schedule an Appointment
In the case of a dental cavity, early treatment is important. By treating decay early on, patients can preserve their natural tooth structure and avoid more serious oral health complications. To learn more about the cavity treatment options offered by Dr. Robert Ribeiro, schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. We look forward to hearing from you!
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“Dr. Ribeiro has been my dentist for many years, and he has always provided exceptional service. His staff is very professional and courteous. They always go out of their way to ensure I have a pleasant experience.” Tina Reed