Tooth decay can be treated in a number of different ways, depending on how far the decay has progressed.
The common treatment options include the following:
Crowns, occasionally called “caps”, are fixtures fitted to the top of a tooth to increase its effectiveness. A crown is a new, artificial cover that is put on a broken tooth. It represents more thorough reconstruction than a filling, though the procedure and the materials used are largely the same. A crown may be necessary when your tooth has been broken, worn down, or otherwise undergone extensive damage that prevents the remaining tooth structure from sustaining a filling. In many cases, a crown can be designed and installed in a single visit.
At Tetrick Family Dentistry, you can benefit from high-quality fillings made from durable materials that will blend seamlessly with your teeth. With our tooth-colored fillings, no one will be able to tell you had dental work done. If your tooth decay has not yet progressed too far, a filling may be right for you. A small cavity can be filled in with either a white composite resin or a silver amalgam material, which serves to protect your healthy tooth structure from further damage.
A dental bridge is similar in many ways to a crown, except that it spans several teeth. Effectively, crowns are placed upon two teeth on either side of a missing tooth, both crowns serving to hold an artificial tooth in place between them. In this way they “bridge” a gap in your teeth, serving to restore function to your bite and support your jawbone without the more invasive procedures of an implant or the flimsier nature of partial dentures. These are a cost-effective alternative to dental implants, and represent a good solution for many people who are missing teeth.
When a cavity is allowed to progress too far, it can penetrate the bony dentin of your tooth and infect the fleshy pulp inside. When this happens, the pulp becomes inflamed and causes severe pain. At this point, it is necessary to perform a root canal in order to save the tooth. This is when your tooth is drilled, the diseased tissue is removed, and a filling is placed to seal up the tooth again.
Though root canals have historically been a lengthy and painful ordeal, the modern dental office can complete your procedure in between one and three visits. Further, most patients report little or no pain from their root canals. Contact Tetrick Family Dentistry in Bellingham to learn more.