Tooth decay is an extremely common problem, largely thanks to the increasing number of sugary foods that we consume in our daily diet. As well as causing substantial pain, it can also make teeth look unsightly, and in many cases, the affected tooth ends up needing extraction which leaves the patient with a noticeable gap in their smile.
What causes tooth decay?
Tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria which attack the enamel that covers the surface of the tooth, causing discoloration and bad breath. You may also experience some pain when you eat or drink. However, if left untreated, the decay can reach the inner part of the tooth where it attacks the nerve. It is at this point that the decay causes significant pain.
What are the symptoms of tooth decay?
The very first sign of decay is usually a chalky white spot that will be visible on the enamel of the affected tooth/teeth. This will darken until it becomes brown, when it turns into a cavity. Other symptoms that you may experience could include:
- Halitosis (foul-smelling breath)
- Sensitivity to hot/cold foods or drink
- Pain in your jaw
- Pain in one or more teeth
- Discoloration of your teeth
Treating tooth decay
There are a number of possible treatments for tooth decay which include cavity fillings and crowns, but the type of treatment that you will be offered will depend on the severity of the decay.
Unfortunately, when decay has reached a certain level, your dentist may decide that your natural tooth has been so badly damaged that it cannot be saved and the safest course of action is to remove it altogether. Of course this means that you will be left with a gap where the missing tooth would have been.
Dental implants – the solution to missing teeth?
Dental implants are one of the most popular solutions for missing teeth. They are made up of three sections – a titanium implant which is inserted into the jaw bone, a crown which acts as a replacement tooth, and an abutment which joins the two together.
Dental implants are so popular because they have a large number of benefits associated with them, which for most people usually outweigh the benefits of previous missing tooth solutions such as dentures. Benefits of dental implants include:
Dental implants look, feel and behave just like natural teeth so people around you need never know that they aren’t! The crowns are also individually shaped, moulded and color-matched so that they create a uniform appearance, giving you a smile that you won’t be able to help but share.
Improved oral health
Nearby teeth do not need to be affected when fitting dental implants, and it is much easier to clean around the individual teeth, meaning that your long term oral health is improved.
With dental implants there is need for the embarrassing removal of dentures at bedtimes and mealtimes, and no dodgy adhesives that risk your dentures slipping out of place. Implants are permanently secured, so you can get on and enjoy life without interruptions.
Implants are extremely durable and with the right care and attention, could last you a lifetime!
Dentures can move around inside your mouth, rub against your gums and cause discomfort. Implants are permanently secured in place and feel as natural as your own teeth.
A smile is one of our biggest assets, but if your smile isn’t one you are happy with it can be a huge confidence-drainer. Implants can give you that confidence back. Many people opt for dental implants simply for cosmetic reasons as they can provide neatly aligned, uniformly shaped and colored teeth that produce a wonderful smile.
Dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device at around 98%.
Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implant surgery usually requires multiple visits to your dentist’s office. You will require an initial consultation where your dentist will take images of your jaw and your medical history, to determine whether implants are a suitable solution for your dental requirements.
During your next visit to your dentist’s office you will be fitted with the actual implants. These are inserted into your jaw bone and left for several weeks for osseointegration to occur. This is when the implants fuse to the jaw bone in order to create an extremely secure base for the abutment and crown to be fitted to.
Finally, you will go back to have the crown and abutment fitted, leaving you with a completely filled gap and a natural smile.
If you are suffering with tooth decay and would like to know more about dental implants, please speak to your dentist who will be happy to advise you further.