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can a decayed tooth be saved sydney

Can a Decayed Tooth Be Saved? Ways To Restore Your Damaged Teeth

Even with the best oral hygiene, tooth decay can happen to anyone. Cavities form when bacteria in your mouth produce acid that erodes your enamel, resulting in pain, infection and tooth loss if left untreated. Unfortunately, people often fail to address tooth decay until it’s too late. Healthy teeth play a key role in both your physical and mental health. As well as influencing people’s appearance, teeth are essential for eating and speaking without discomfort. If one or several of your teeth are beginning to decay, you must take action as quickly as possible to minimise the chances of further oral health issues.

If you already suffer from mild decay, you may wonder, can a dentist fix tooth decay? Although deep tooth decay often leads to extraction, it is not the only solution. If you’re wondering how to fix tooth decay, several options, such as dental crowns, fillings, inlays, and onlays, can restore the tooth’s structure, appearance, and integrity once removing the decay.

However, in some cases, tooth decay does require extraction. If the decay is accompanied by periodontitis or infected pulp, or the tooth is cracked below the gum line, your teeth may not have adequate support for alternative treatments. We highly recommend you take swift action when it comes to your oral health (even if you experience dental anxiety) as it increases your chances of saving decaying teeth.

Causes of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay occurs when the tooth enamel softens or erodes due to acids and plaque caused by bacteria in the mouth.

tooth decay can a decayed tooth be saved sydneyA cavity or hole can develop if the mineral loss isn’t addressed quickly enough. Cavities get worse the longer they remain untreated and can lead to tooth loss.

If the infection causes your gums to recede, you may experience a root cavity where the tooth’s nerves become exposed. Root cavities can cause significant discomfort, particularly when eating or drinking.

A root cavity requires a root canal to save the tooth. Common causes of tooth decay that occur in everyday life include:

  • Age

The risk of cavities increases as we get older. Older children aged 12-14 were 38% more likely to have tooth decay in their permanent teeth than younger children aged 6-8 at 9%. Although tooth decay is common among children, older adults can also have tooth decay. 32% of Australians aged 15 and over have untreated tooth decay in at least one tooth.

  • Diet and Lifestyle

Sugary food and drinks are a leading cause of tooth decay. Sugar, along with the plaque, weakens the protective enamel on your teeth. Your teeth are especially vulnerable to damage from acid in the 20 minutes after exposure to sugar. Brushing your teeth immediately after consuming milk, soda, dried fruits, cereal, hard sweets, caramel, raisins, and biscuits is a good idea. Limit consumption of foods high in starch and sugar and refrain from using tobacco products where possible.

  • Frequent Stomach Upset

Even though enamel is tough, it can only withstand acid up to a pH of 5.5. You may wear down your enamel more quickly if you have frequent heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A stomach acid’s pH is less than 2.0, so it can erode your teeth’s enamel, causing tooth decay. You should speak with your physician if you believe you have GERD.

  • Eating Disorders

Self-induced vomiting from an eating disorder, such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa, can quickly wear down tooth enamel because of the acidity in stomach acids. People with eating disorders had five times more tooth decay and erosion. Consuming food triggers a significant amount of saliva production afterwards, so eating disorders can also decrease saliva production.

  • Poor Oral Hygiene

Failing to brush or floss your teeth enough allows plaque to gather, which damages the enamel. Brushing and flossing twice daily and using mouthwash once daily with fluoride-based dental products are critical steps to eliminating bacteria and plaque.

It’s also critical to keep up with your regular dental cleanings, which should ideally take place every six months. At these appointments, your dentist can stay on top of any issues by removing plaque and performing a quick exam to check for decay.

  • Dry Mouth

Saliva plays a vital role in washing plaque away from your teeth and minimising the effects of acids. If you regularly experience a dry mouth, it may lead to cavities and tooth problems. Calcium, phosphorus, fluoride and other minerals in saliva remineralise your tooth enamel to help keep your teeth healthy.

If you work in a dry environment and don’t drink enough water, you can become dehydrated and have reduced saliva production.

Beverages containing high levels of caffeine, such as coffee, tea or soda can cause fluid and saliva loss.

  • Medical Issues

Some medical treatments contribute to tooth decay by altering the saliva composition. For example, a cancer treatment that involves radiation exposure to the neck and head can lead to bacterial growth, which decays teeth. Certain medications may also list dry mouth as one of the side effects.

Signs of Tooth Decay

Although you should prioritise oral health and hygiene as a preventative measure, it’s impossible to prevent all issues. Taking good care of your teeth doesn’t guarantee that your teeth won’t become decayed. Usually, there are no symptoms in the early stages of tooth decay. However, as decay progresses, it can cause:

  • Pain

One of the most common signs of issues with your teeth is severe discomfort or heightened sensitivity to hot and cold substances. The tooth’s protective enamel is worn away, exposing its inner dentin and resulting in infection. A deep cavity with a severe infection can cause an abscess or pocket of pus to develop, resulting in intense discomfort, swelling and fever. Tooth decay can also result in persistent toothaches.

If you notice a toothache, it could be due to decay, which may be visible with brown or white stains on your tooth’s surface. If you experience any toothache, you should never ignore it. If a tooth is causing persistent pain, book an appointment with our dentists at No Gaps Dental, who will provide you with a customised treatment plan to get your oral health back on track.

  • Pressure

Pressure caused by decaying teeth is very uncomfortable. You will likely experience it when eating or biting food.

  • Pits

Pits or holes can occur due to decaying teeth. Wondering if a dentist can fix tooth decay? Our dentists will begin by diagnosing tooth decay and cavities with an oral examination and a dental probe. They will also ask if you have any symptoms, such as tooth sensitivity. Dentists often find signs of tooth decay at a regular check-up, but if they suspect a cavity, this may be diagnosed with an x-ray to create a treatment plan.

Can a Decayed Tooth Be Saved?

One of the most common patient questions patients ask is, “Can a decayed tooth be saved?” While this depends on the extent of the damage, decayed teeth are generally salvageable, particularly with a dental crown. Dental crowns are a common method for how to get rid of tooth decay, providing an aesthetically pleasing and protective cover for the damaged tooth.

How to restore decayed teeth

How can a dentist fix tooth decay? Depending on the extent of your tooth decay, a dentist can offer several solutions. The treatment they recommend to fix tooth decay depends on its severity.

Mild tooth decay, for example, may only need something as simple as fluoride treatment to help the tooth enamel repair itself if a patient has early tooth decay. Fluoride treatments enable the teeth to absorb calcium and phosphate to repair weak teeth and can even slow or reverse the formation of cavities by harmful bacteria. Fissure sealants are also helpful in preventing tooth decay for children.

​​How can a dentist fix tooth decay with a filling, inlay or onlay?

Cavities are caused by hardened dental plaque that hasn’t been removed by brushing. Provided the decay is minor, the dentist can remove it and fill the hole with a filling, an inlay or an onlay. The dentist doesn’t have to remove as much tooth enamel as with a dental crown to carry out the repair. Instead, they will remove just the decayed tissue before filling the hole with tooth-coloured composite resin, old-style amalgam filling or dental porcelain, in the case of inlays and onlays.

tooth decay treatment can a decayed tooth be saved sydneyFillings can be coloured to match your natural teeth for a seamless smile. Amalgam fillings are made from a combination of metals and are typically used to restore premolars and molars as they can withstand the intense bite force these teeth sustain. Composite resin fillings are ideal for teeth towards the front of the mouth because the tooth-coloured resin is less noticeable. While fillings are less invasive than dental crowns, they aren’t always the best option.

Inlays or onlays (sometimes called partial dental crowns) are needed for minor tooth decay and damage, whereas dental crowns are used for severely damaged teeth.

How can a dentist fix tooth decay with dental crowns?

Once a cavity reaches a specific size, a dentist can’t drill out the decayed tissue without compromising the natural tooth structure. This is where a dental crown fits into the equation. Dental crowns are fillings created outside the mouth and individually fabricated to fit the patient’s mouth. A partial dental crown is generally made from porcelain for a realistic appearance or composite resin. A dental crown is one of the most popular and effective treatments for decayed teeth.

Dental crowns essentially restore teeth through capping. The entire tooth is capped to improve its strength, structure, aesthetics, and function. It’s designed to match the look, feel, and shape of an original tooth.

If damage to the tooth or infection has spread to the tooth’s inner core (pulp), you may need a root canal. Here, the dentist removes the decayed and infected material and flushes and disinfects the canals before a temporary filling is added. Once all traces of infection are gone, a permanent filling is placed, and the tooth is covered with a dental crown to restore its strength and integrity.

At No Gaps Dental, we offer CEREC dental crowns to strengthen your teeth

Thanks to CEREC technology, you can get a dental crown made and fitted at our clinic in the same appointment. Traditional crowns require at least two weeks or more and involve multiple dental visits.

A CEREC crown is made from porcelain and carefully shade-matched to your natural teeth.

While dental crowns typically last longer than fillings, a dentist must remove sufficient enamel to accommodate the crown. Once tooth enamel is removed, it can’t grow back again. However, patients are better off with a dental crown if their tooth has become fragile from repeated dental procedures or a large filling.

Avoiding a dental crown when needed could result in a cracked tooth or more extensive tooth decay.

Restore Your Decayed Teeth With No Gaps Dental

Wondering how to get rid of tooth decay? Even severely decayed teeth can be restored with the right dental professionals by your side. Whether you require dental crowns, fillings, or a combination of treatments, No Gaps Dental can help restore your smile and confidence.

We have 15 dental clinics scattered across Sydney’s Metro area, so there’s sure to be one that’s convenient for you. We understand that healthy teeth and gums are essential for a comfortable life. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at (02) 8806 0227. Book an initial consultation with us and discover the difference before and after tooth decay treatment.

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks.

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