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Tooth decay is the disease known as caries or cavities - a highly preventable disease caused by many factors.
We all host bacteria in our mouths which makes everyone a potential target for cavities. Risk factors that put a person at a higher risk for tooth decay include:
The following are the most common symptoms of tooth decay and dental caries. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include white spots on the teeth that appear first. Then, an early cavity appears that has a light brown color on the tooth. The tooth color progressively becomes darker.
Dental caries are usually diagnosed based on a complete history and physical examination of your child. This may be performed by your child's physician or your child's dentist.
Preventing tooth decay and cavities involves five simple steps:
Specific treatment for tooth decay will be determined by your child's physician or dentist based on:
Treatment, in most cases, requires removing the caries and replacing the lost substance of the tooth with a filling.
Teeth that have been affected by tooth decay (caries or cavities) require a filling. Advances in dental materials and techniques provide new, effective ways to restore teeth.
There are several different types of restorations, including:
Amalgam fillings have been used for decades, and have been tested for safety and resistance to wear. Dentists have found amalgams to be safe, reliable, and effective for restorations.
Glass ionomers are tooth-colored materials made from fine glass powders and acrylic acids. These are used in small fillings that do not have to withstand heavy pressure from chewing. Resin ionomers are made from glass with acrylic acids and acrylic resin.
For an indirect restoration, a dentist may use an all-porcelain, or ceramic, application. This material looks like natural tooth enamel in color and translucency. Another type of indirect restoration may use the porcelain that is fused to metal, which provides additional strength. Gold alloys are used often for crowns or inlays and onlays. Base metal alloys are used in crowns and are resistant to corrosion and fracture. Indirect composites are similar to those used for fillings and are tooth-colored, but they are not as strong as porcelain or metal restorations.
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