Tooth decay forms when the natural bacteria in your mouth exploit a compromised area of tooth enamel. Even though this is often the result of an inconsistent or inadequate oral hygiene routine, there could also be other factors at play. A chip in the tooth enamel or deep pits in the biting surface can sometimes trap plaque and residual food particles that can be hard to clean with brushing alone.
Detecting and diagnosing tooth decay early will go a long way toward minimizing treatment complications without the need for more invasive techniques. The severity and depth of the decay will largely determine the method that Dr. Torbenson and Dr. Neumann recommend.
If the area of tooth decay is small and limited to just the enamel layer of the tooth, they will often be able to repair it with a standard dental filling. If the tooth decay is large and a significant amount of tooth enamel is compromised, then they might recommend replacing all of the tooth enamel with a dental crown.
If the decay penetrates deep into the tooth and compromises or infects the pulp or root of the tooth, then Dr. Torbenson and Dr. Neumann might need to perform a root canal. This is a more invasive treatment method that involves the affected tooth structure to be extracted from the tooth and replaced by an inert material called gutta percha. The tooth enamel can then be completely replaced by a dental crown.
In a case where the infection in the root is severe, our dentists’ only viable treatment option might be to completely extract the tooth. Once your gums have healed, they can help you decide if you would like to restore the tooth with a dental implant or a dental bridge.
If you are concerned about tooth decay in Mankato, Minnesota, you should call Advanced Dental at 507-345-1284 to have it examined and treated.