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Tooth decay, also known as a cavity, is the second most common disease shared throughout the world, after the common cold. It can ruin a smile by decimating teeth, causing pain and sensitivity and, to a more serious degree, cause tooth loss. Catching the effects of tooth decay before they cause irreparable damage is key, and can be fixed with a tooth-colored filling or root canal to keep the decay at bay.
Contrary to popular belief, tooth decay is not just caused by sugar alone. Instead, bacteria that get into your mouth eat up the leftover food particles from meals. If you don’t brush your teeth after a big meal, these bacteria continue to eat. As they consume, they dispense waste in the forms of acids. To make matters worse, bacteria can colonize in the form of plaque and tartar. Enamel begins to break down, exposing more sensitive layers of the tooth and damaging the areas where your toothbrush can’t reach, like under the gums. The more you neglect your oral healthcare, the more tooth decay can take hold, leaving dark pits and holes in your teeth.
So, what can be done to stop tooth decay in its tracks?
In the past, cavities were often filled in with mercury metal, but nowadays people are wary about having a potentially toxic metal like this in their mouths. Instead, dentists like Dr. Tharp and Dr. Klaus have invested in tooth-colored composite fillings, a cleaner alternative that can be matched to the color of your existing tooth.
Tooth-colored composite fillings can be performed in one appointment, so there’s no need to leave and return for multiple appointments. The space where your decay is present is cleaned and prepared, and then the composite material is put in place. Dr. Tharp and Dr. Klaus can even shape this new filling so that it looks and feels natural.
While fillings work to stop tooth decay at the first warning signs, sometimes it’s already too late and the decay has spread to the more vulnerable layers of your tooth. Patients will start to feel extreme nerve pain or notice a bigger dark pit in their tooth. These are signs that the decay has reached the sensitive Pulp, the center of the tooth where blood vessels and nerve endings reside. In cases like this, a root canal is necessary to remove infection and seal the tooth from bacteria.
Drs. Tharp and Klaus will first numb the tooth and remove the remnants of the diseased tissue in the tooth. This doesn’t “hollow out” the tooth, per se, but removes the infected tissues so the decay doesn’t spread anymore. Then the canals of the tooth are filled in with a permanent material, known as gutta-percha, and the rest is filled with a composite material to cover it up.
The final step is to place a crown to both protect the tooth from fracture and provide the final bacterial seal on the root canal. These crowns can often be made right here in-house, using our specialized CEREC machine to mill a new crown within hours.
Many patients may not know that tooth decay is contagious, with the ability to spread to other teeth and continue the cycle of disease. Tooth-colored fillings and root canals are key to preventing this, along with a rigorous oral hygiene routine. With fillings and root canals, you can prevent bacteria from continuing to erode away at the tooth, especially since they are not organic materials.
If you currently have mercury or silver amalgam fillings and are interested in tooth-colored fillings, ask Drs. Tharp and Klaus about what you can do to swap them out for tooth-colored fillings instead.
Are you suffering from rampant tooth decay, or worry that there’s an underlying cause for your tooth pain or sensitivity? Contact us at Tharp & Klaus in Jackson, MS and we’ll be happy to schedule you for a consultation. Discover what fillings and root canals can do to save your smile.
Consult With Dentists Dr. Tharp & Dr. Klaus
whether you need a teeth cleaning, oral screening, or restorative dental care in Jackson, MS, trust in our team to deliver quality dental services that will leave you with a smile. We believe that each and every patient that walks through our door deserves a great smile, and we’ll work with you to find the treatments that fit your needs. During our consultations, you’ll be able to ask your questions one-on-one, get evaluated, and learn more about the ins and outs of your dental treatment.
Don’t hesitate to contact us today; you deserve a beautiful brilliant smile.