Treatment for Tooth Decay

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The treatment for tooth decay will vary depending on the extent and the severity of the tooth decay or cavity. Small amounts of tooth decay can be treated with fillings, but larger portions of decay may call for a tooth extraction, root canal or crown. Visit a dentist to discuss different treatments for tooth decay with advice from a general dentist in this free video on dentistry and oral health.

Part of the Video Series: Dental Health & Information
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Video Transcript

Tooth decay, also known as cavities can be treated several different ways. Before they can be treated, it needs to be determined the extent of the tooth decay and as well as the severity. When we talk about the extent of the decay, what we're looking at is how large the cavity is. If the cavity is ten to twenty percent of the tooth, it usually can be fixed very easily with a tooth-colored filling. However, if the extend is eighty to ninety percent of the tooth where we find that there's not much tooth left to begin with, then that tooth decay maybe just discarded and the tooth be eliminated; again based on how much cavity there is. There has to be a certain amount of tooth structure left in order to be able to fix it. And we find that typically when the tooth decay approach is to eighty to ninety percent of the tooth, typically find it becomes much more difficult and a lot less predictable in terms of fixing the tooth. Now that was talking about the extent and the, the other one is obviously the severity of it and when we talk about the severity, we're referring to where does it sit in relation to the nerve. We know that as tooth decay or cavities get close to the nerve we start to develop more symptoms such as cold sensitivity, biting sensitivity, throbbing pain that comes and goes. And when the tooth decay gets close to the nerve, it kind of changes the way we treat the tooth. What may have been something small as like a filling, can evolve or change into a root canal where, let's just say fifty percent of the tooth is still left there, but the nerve is expose. While the extent of the damage isn't great, the severity is because the cavity gone into the nerve and typically that requires something more dramatic than a filling such as a root canal and a procedure known as a crown which is something that goes over top of the tooth to further protect it. So really when we look at tooth decay, the way it's treated, we have to look at the extent of it; again to see how large it is, how much of the tooth is broken down; but also the severity, meaning how far it is into the nerve or whether or not it's reach the nerve or not. Those are the two most important factors for determining how we treat tooth decay. But the treatments can range anywhere from something as simple as a tooth filling to as complicated as, as a root canal and crown or something also simple as an extraction.

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