By the age of 17, nearly 80 percent of the American population has had at least one cavity. By the age of 65, more than 90 percent of Americans have had tooth decay.
No matter what you call them — cavities, tooth decay, or caries — they can be treated at Eugene Family Dental.
Two of the most common ways to repair teeth that have been damaged by decay are dental bonding and dental crowns. We want to explain what they are and how you may need each.
If you have a cavity that needs to be treated, contact our dentist office if you live in or near Eugene, OR.
What Causes Cavities?
Before we explain why you may need tooth fillings (dental bonding) or a dental crown, we want you to understand what causes cavities.
Bacteria live inside your mouth. Some of these bacteria are beneficial to our teeth, and other bacteria will attack our teeth given the opportunity.
If we don’t take steps to remove these bacteria, then they can build plaque. From a tactical perspective, you could say the plaque is a staging area where bacteria launches its attacks on our teeth.
Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste (twice a day for two minutes each time) and flossing (every day) will greatly reduce your risk of getting cavities.
What we eat plays a role, too, since bacteria feed on the sugars in our food.
Tooth decay often does not cause pain (at first). You may not notice cavities depending on where they are developing inside your mouth or until you notice discolorations your teeth.
A dentist or dental hygienist may notice signs of tooth decay during routine cleanings and examinations. The sooner your cavity is detected, the simpler your treatment will be, too.
Tooth fillings (dental bonding) are the preferred treatment when you have relatively minor damage from tooth decay. The bonding material is made of a white composite resin.
After the decay is removed, your tooth will be prepared to accept the bonding material. The resin is used to fill in the hole that was created by your cavity.
Because the material is white, it can be shaded to match the natural color of your teeth. This is one of the reasons we prefer dental bonding to amalgam fillings.
Amalgam fillings are made with a blend of mercury and other metals (like copper, silver, and tin). This can make them stand out against your teeth.
White fillings, however, blend in with the rest of your smile.
If you’ve had a filling (amalgam or white) for any amount of time, then you know they need to be replaced occasionally. They can become chipped, cracked, or separated from your teeth. In the worst case scenarios, the filling can fall out completely.
Dental bonding can be used to replace the damaged or missing filling.
With bigger cavities, dental bonding may not be enough to restore your tooth. This is when dental crowns are beneficial.
Dental crowns are a restoration for a damaged or decayed tooth. Our crowns are made of porcelain. We use porcelain because it looks like a real tooth, and it functions like a real tooth, which is just as important.
To get a dental crown, we first need to remove the decayed portion of your tooth. By doing this, we are able to reshape the tooth into an abutment.
Your crown will be designed to fit naturally with your remaining teeth. Once it is bonded to your tooth, most people will never know which one is a crown.
We also may use a crown on a tooth that has received multiple replacement fillings. With each replacement, a little more of the tooth is removed. A dental crown can serve as a more permanent solution if the tooth has been weakened by repeated procedures.
Chipped and broken teeth are another problem that may be repaired with dental bonding or crowns.
A small chip may be fixable with a dental bonding. For larger chips, we may recommend a dental crown. The process for getting a crown is similar to what we described for repairing a decayed tooth.
Don’t Let A Cavity Ruin Your Smile
Tooth decay is a common problem, but it is one that can be treated. As we have noted above, the effects of decay can be repaired and restored as well with dental bonding and dental crowns.
The team at Eugene Family Dental wants to keep your smile looking its best. If you or someone in your family has a cavity, call 458-205-5189 or fill out our online form to make an appointment today.
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