How to Fix Rotten Teeth

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If your teeth are rotten and are causing you pain or embarrassment, you should speak to a dental care provider about ways to improve your dental health and the overall appearance of your smile. Depending on the severity of your tooth decay, several treatment options are available that will help to eliminate the cause of enamel-destroying bacteria in your mouth, as well as repair the damage that has been done to your teeth.

Tooth decay is a serious health matter that should be dealt with promptly.
Tooth decay is a serious health matter that should be dealt with promptly. (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Step 1

See a dentist immediately if you notice any symptoms of tooth decay, including foul breath, tooth pain, discoloration of the teeth, sensitivity to hot or cold things in the mouth, headaches or jaw pain. Your dentist will use an instrument to examine the surface of your teeth for grooves, holes or plaque buildup. He may also apply a staining dye to your teeth to uncover cavities that may have formed underneath previous fillings or crowns.

Symptoms of tooth decay
Symptoms of tooth decay (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Step 2

Get a high concentration fluoride treatment if your dentist discovers the beginning stages of tooth decay in your mouth. This can help to arrest the decay and protect your tooth enamel from further damage. If your decay is minimal, the fluoride treatment, along with proper dental hygiene care, may be all that is necessary to treat your tooth rot and inhibit further decay.

Fluoride treatment
Fluoride treatment (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Step 3

For tooth rot that has advanced and is degrading the tooth, you may need to receive a filling. Ask your dentist about filling options. If your decay is located in your back teeth, your dentist may opt for an amalgam filling of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury. If the decay is occurring in a front tooth, you should ask your dentist about a composite-resin filling, made of plastic and fine glass particles. These types of fillings are more likely to match the color and appearance of your natural teeth and may be more desirable for use in front tooth fillings. Ask your dentist about cast gold fillings if you have a very strong bite and have a history of losing other types of fillings. Gold fillings are generally stronger and last longer than other types of fillings, but they have the disadvantage of being expensive.

Tooth filling
Tooth filling (Image: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Step 4

If your tooth decay is extensive, you may need to have a root canal to save the tooth and prevent further tooth rot. During a root canal, your dentist will remove your tooth's nerve and surrounding pulp before sealing the tooth with a crown. Like fillings, crowns come in various types, including amalgam, silver, porcelain and gold. Ask your dentist which type of crown would be best suited for your needs.

Root canal
Root canal (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Step 5

If your tooth decay is too severe to save your tooth, your dentist may have to remove the affected tooth completely. This procedure is done in-office and using a local anesthesia to deaden the tooth's nerves and the surrounding tissue. If you are nervous about having a tooth removed, ask your dentist about using nitrous oxide, or "laughing gas," to relax you during the procedure, which generally takes no longer than a half hour to perform. Depending on where the rotten tooth was located and whether or not it is a permanent tooth, your dentist may install a spacer to keep the area between your teeth open until a new tooth grows in, or he may prescribe a dental bridge to cover the gap and help support chewing. Ask your dentist which option will be best for you.

Tooth removal
Tooth removal (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

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