The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research indicates that 92 percent of American adults have had at least one cavity in their lifetimes. In other words, there are millions of treated and untreated cavities out there. Denton dentist, Dr. Samantha Leatherwood, restores decay with composite resin fillings which are durable and seamlessly tooth-colored. Learn about this comfortable treatment process and what the dentist tells patients about preventing decay.
The Genesis of a Dental Cavity
It begins with an oral bacteria call Strep mutans which lives in plaque and tartar in between teeth and at the gum line. These germs secrete acids which cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Neglected, tooth decay continues to eat away at tooth enamel. Inner tooth pulp often develops an abscess, or infection, causing pain and destruction of the tooth.
Fortunately, diagnosis through visual inspection and digital X-rays can limit the destructive process. Dr. Samantha Leatherwood, your dentist in Denton, routinely uses white composite resin to repair dental cavities and strengthen tooth enamel. Seamless and tooth colored, this innovative combination of glass and acrylic virtually makes decay disappear.
Here’s How It All Works
First, Dr. Leatherwood numbs the area around the tooth to be restored. She isolates the decayed area by installing a thin rubber dam around the tooth to protect the mouth from any debris. She carefully removes the damaged enamel with a high speed drill. Unlike preparing a tooth for a metal filling, this process is more conservative, requiring removal of less enamel. Additionally, once installed, the composite resin does not expand and contract with temperature fluctuations, placing less stress on tooth enamel.
Then, the dentist uses an etching liquid to prepare the surface for the resin. She cures it with a special light and places the composite resin in layers, each hardened with the special light. After finishing the filling, Dr. Leatherwood polishes the surface to blend in with the texture of the surrounding enamel.
Prevention of Dental Decay
Of course, disciplined at-home hygiene and in-office care support good oral health. The American Dental Association tells kids and adults to brush twice a day for two minutes and to floss daily. Also, the ADA recommends semi-annual examinations and cleanings with a skilled family dentist. Beyond these, patients should:
- Eat a nutritious, low-carb diet high in fibrous vegetables and fruit, low-fat dairy for calcium and low-fat meats and fish for protein
- Drink at least eight glasses of water daily to wash tooth surfaces and gums and to increase saliva and its antibacterial benefits
- Wear mouthguards for sports and to prevent damaging tooth grinding (bruxism)
- Avoid chewing hard foods, such as taffy and ice, and never bite open plastic packaging or bottles with your teeth
It’s a straightforward process, and the result is a beautiful and durable smile. If you think you have a cavity, contact Samantha Leatherwood DDS, dentist in Denton, for an appointment. She’ll take care of that decay and get you smiling again.