The majority of the world’s population are affected; children as well as adults. According to a study by the World Health Organization, 60-90% of school-age children and the vast majority of adults have, or have had, cavities at one point. The decay may start as soon as the baby teeth first appear.
The professionals at the Centre Dentaire Anjou concur that both regular exams as well as professional cleanings are an essential complement to daily oral home care. Additionally, reducing the consumption of sugary, sticky and acidic foods will help to prevent tooth decay and therefore maintain optimal oral health.
The cavity process
There are millions of bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria will coalesce and form a sticky biofilm called dental plaque. The risk of developing a cavity is increased by the amount of time the plaque remains in contact with the tooth enamel. Bacteria in the plaque ferment the sugars of the dietary carbohydrates and transform them into acid. It is this acidic environment that is conducive to the development of cavities. The acids attack and destroy the hard tissues of the tooth (enamel and dentin).
Many people believe that cavities always causes pain. The early stages of a cavity however, are symptomless. It is only when the cavity pierces through the enamel and reaches the dentin that the person may feel discomfort to hot, cold or sugary foods. Some people never experience any pain.
A cavity is an active process and if not treated early enough, it will continues until it eventually reaches the nerve of the tooth. Once the nerve is affected, an infection ensues. The tooth then becomes very painful, swelling can occur and prompt intervention should be sought.
In addition to pain and throbbing, the following symptoms may be experienced:
- Redness and swelling of the gums or cheek
- Pain on chewing
Plus la carie est extensive, plus la dent s’affaiblit et risque de se fracturer.
The more extensive the decay, the weaker the tooth becomes which will lead to an increased risk of tooth fracture. Do not underestimate an early cavity as the repercussions can be serious. A diagnosis of a cavity that requires a basic filling can very quickly turn into a major event that could require a root canal, a crown or even an extraction.
Our teeth play an important role in the digestive process. They are constantly taxed in order to withstand the forces of mastication. It is important to maintain and keep them healthy for as long as possible.
The professionals at centre dentaire anjou have our best interest at heart. For this reason, several treatment options will be presented to you that will take into account your health, your needs and your budget. Furthermore at Centre Dentaire Anjou we will facilitate accessibility to Dental care bu offering you numerous payment options.When a tooth is decayed, the dentist removes the affected part of the tooth and replaces it with a filling.
They are numerous treatment options and material choices available to restore the affected tooth. They all have the same purpose; to seal the tooth in order to prevent bacteria from re-entering and thus stop the carious process. Even on a tooth that has already been treated a new cavity may still develop, hence the importance of maintaining optimal oral hygiene at all times and adopting healthy eating habits.
Certain restorations offer superior advantages in terms of durability, longevity and esthetics. The dentist has the professional ability to inform you of all the available options as well as discuss with you the particularities of each one so that you are able to make an informed choice.
Material currently used
Dental amalgam (otherwise known as a silver filling) is a very common material used to fill cavities. It has been used for over a century and consists of a powdered alloy of silver (50% to 70%), tin and copper that is combined with liquid (elemental) mercury whose role is to bind these components so that they become a hard, safe and stable putty. Amalgam may not be very esthetic but it is very durable and is extremely resistant to wear.
Amalgam is a safe and excellent material for the posterior teeth. With time, it also seals the tooth. It is economical and durable under the forces of mastication. Its main disadvantage is its silver colour. It also tends to expand which in in turn creates additional stress on the tooth that can sometimes cause fractures. Dental amalgam has been studied extensively and has been deemed safe. The small amount of mercury released when placing or removing amalgam has not been shown to cause any adverse health effects.
Compared with amalgam, the composite resin is a more recent material. Due to the availability of numerous colours they are more esthetic and the fillings may even appear invisible. Composites were initially used only for anterior teeth, but the development of more wear-resistant composites has allowed them to be used for the restoration of posterior teeth as well. They are better than amalgam when conservative preparation is recommended as an amalgam requires the removal of more sound tooth structure.
A composite resin (white filling) is a tooth coloured filling material composed of a resin based matrix and an inorganic filler such as silica. The soft putty is placed in the cavity and molded, it is hardened when a polymerization light is applied to it. Polymerization is a chemical reaction that causes the composite to harden. Before the composite can adhere to the tooth, an acid gel is applied, followed by a glue to hold it all in place.
Some of the advantages of a composite are esthetic as a range of shades are available so that the colour of your tooth can be matched closely and less tooth structure needs to be removed due to the adhesiveness of the composite.
Composite fillings can be used for both anterior and posterior restorations. In use for over 30 years they are a modern restorative material that respect both health and the environment. Composites, however, do have drawbacks. It is important to know that the life of a composite is less than that of an amalgam or ceramic restoration. The insertion technique is more technique sensitive and the restorations take more time to do which is why they are more expensive. The lifespan of a composite is less than 10 years and all composites experience polymerization shrinkage. This can lead to open margins which in turn leads to an increased risk of re-decay. For these reasons, the composite restorations may need to be replaced more often than amalgam.
Ceramic inlays are also an option for restoring teeth. They are as durable as amalgam and just as esthetic as a composite because there are many colours available. Closer to the strength of enamel, they restore the original tooth strength. Studies have shown that a tooth restored with a porcelain inlay can recover up to 98% of its original strength. For this reason, ceramic inlays are recommended for teeth with deep cavities, or when many margins of the tooth are damaged and the integrity of the tooth is compromised.
Ceramic inlays are now considered to be one of the most effective restorations for the long term. They allow us to fabricate restorations with unmatched resistance and esthetics. An inlay is therefore recommended when at least one cusp of the tooth is damaged and the remainder of the tooth is intact.
The ceramic inlay is fabricated by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented onto the tooth by a dentist. It can be used to non-invasively repair teeth that have large fillings or are damaged by cavities or trauma. Porcelain inlays are an excellent alternative to traditional fillings be it amalgam, composite resin or in some cases even a full crown.Porcelain inlays are very resistant and will remain in place for many years, ensuring a lasting and functional smile.
Below are some of the indications for an inlay:
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Esthetic improvement
- Deep / extensive cavities
- Fractured fillings
An inlay generally requires two appointments. During the first appointment, the dentist will remove any cavities and / or old fillings. Your tooth may need to be frozen beforehand. The tooth will then be carefully cleaned and prepared in order to enable the inlay to be well seated. An impression of the prepared tooth will be taken and sent to the laboratory. A temporary filling will be placed until the next appointment.During your second appointment, your new restoration will be carefully and precisely seated on the tooth. Some adjustments may be necessary to ensure proper fit and a comfortable occlusion. You will receive post-op instructions following the installation of your inlay. Good oral hygiene along with good eating habits and regular visits to your dentist will help preserve your new restoration.