The most common catalyst for tooth damage is poor oral hygiene. This is composed of poor habitual brushing, flossing and diet, and leaving deposits of food containing carbohydrates on the teeth. Over a long period of time, these deposits produce acid, ultimately causing the tooth to decay. Tooth decay softens and wears away the tooth enamel, losing the tooth’s function and structure.
If the loss of the enamel is left untreated a cavity (hole) will eventually occur and without treatment will expand and destroy the tooth. Once a tooth is compromised by decay, the tooth structure will be altered and its ability to function is hindered. If bacteria enters the tooth, you may experience toothaches and find that the infected area is sensitive.
Fillings are used to build teeth damaged by decay, fracture/ chip, teeth grinding or erosion back to its original shape and function. This not only restores the teeth back into its ideal structure and shape, but also makes it stronger preventing bacteria from entering and causing further damage. Signs and symptoms that you may need restorative fillings include pain or sensitivity in the affected area, formation of holes and pits, and production of pus around the infected tooth.
Causes of Cavities and Tooth Decay
There are multiple reasons that may cause cavities to form incluging loss of tooth mineral in the enamel (demineralisation) to grinding, to incomplete brushing and flossing.. The main factors for cavity and tooth decay are:
- Poor oral hygiene: inadequate brushing or brushing with an inaccurate technique will allow plaque deposits to build up and attack the tooth enamel. However, remember that plaque can be easily removed by your 360° dentist during your scale and clean health check-up.
- Plaque formation: Plaque is produced when bacteria, acid, food particles and saliva all combine. When not removed, the plaque will adhere to the tooth, building up as the acid in plaque attacks your tooth. This will eventually cause cavities, which will require professional treatment from your dentist.
- Dry mouth: saliva helps wash plaque off your teeth. Having a dry mouth correlates to having inadequate amounts of saliva produced allowing plaque to build up more quickly. To address this issue it is recommended you maintain good oral hygiene, and attend for professional cleaning more frequently.
- Eating and drinking habits: a diet composed of carbohydrates is a breeding ground for bacteria to grow if teeth are not cleaned properly. Existing bacteria in the mouth thrive on high in sugar or salty foods, producing immense amounts of acids. If not regularly cleaned with adequate brushing, these food particles may remain in the gaps of your teeth increasing the risk of you developing a tooth cavity. These issues can be treated with correct brushing and flossing techniques as explained on the oral health hygiene page of our website.
During a filling procedure, your 360° dentist will first remove the decay and clean the affected area. The cleaned-out cavity is then filled. Sometimes your dentist will inject a local anaesthetic next to the tooth to maximize your comfort.
Only your professional dentist is able to tell you if you need tooth fillings. During your regular half yearly check up with us, our 360° dentist will use a mirror, probes and x-rays to check and confirm your tooth health. If you need tooth fillings, we will discuss with you the different material options available , and choose the one most suitable for you.
The most popular filling materials offered at 360° Dental Care include composite resin, gold and porcelain. The choices of filling material depend on the extent of repair, location of the tooth in your mouth and cost.
Establish an Oral Hygiene Routine
Prevention is better than cure!
There are a number of techniques you can adopt to impede cavities and tooth decay. Following a comprehensive oral hygiene regimen is vital to maintaining good oral health. This includes:
Remember that it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine to reduce the deposits of plaque and tartar which can wear down your teeth. Maintaining healthy teeth and a healthy mouth includes adopting a comprehensive at-home bi-daily clean as well as a sixth monthly professional clean from your dentist.