Fillings are done to remove decay, and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because new material fills the hole that decay left. Currently, most teeth are treated with bonded tooth colored composite resin fillings. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. If not treated decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth would need root canal treatment or extraction.
A crown is also sometimes referred to as a cap. It is an artificial replacement for that part of the tooth that is above the gum line. A crown typically covers the entire tooth, replacing most of the enamel. Crowns can be made from metal, gold alloys, metal and porcelain fused together, or entirely from porcelain.
Regular brushing and cleaning between teeth with floss or another interdental cleaner helps remove food particles and bacteria from the smooth surfaces of the tooth enamel. However, pits and fissures are difficult to keep clean. That’s because toothbrush bristles can’t reach into the microscopic grooves to remove plaque bacteria and tiny particles of food.
Because pits and fissures are difficult to keep clean, your dentist may recommend dental sealants. A dental sealant is a plastic material that is applied to a chewing surface of a back tooth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acid.
PERIODONTAL DISEASE AND TREATMENT
Periodontal (gum) disease is a condition in which bacteria attack the tissues that surround and support teeth. Simply put, it is an infection that can result in tooth loss if not treated. Because it is often painless, you may not be aware that you have a problem until your gums and bone are seriously affected. The good news is that periodontal diseases often can be treated in the early stages with a treatment called scaling and root planning.
Scaling is used to remove plaque and tartar beneath the gumline. A local anesthetic may be given to reduce any discomfort. Using a small scaler or ultrasonic cleaner, plaque and tartar are carefully removed down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket. The tooth’s root surfaces are then smoothed or planed to allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth.
Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money and unneeded discomfort and help prevent more serious health problems. X-ray images may be able to help the dentist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam.
Digital imaging uses an x-ray machine like that used for traditional dental x-ray images made with film. But instead of using film in a plastic holder, digital images are made using a small electronic sensor that is placed in your mouth to capture the x-ray image.