Tooth decay takes place in a tooth when the tooth's enamel has been damaged or has dissolved, resulting in a hole or tooth cavity.
Causes of tooth decay vary, but overall the damage is caused by bacteria living in the mouth as a result of poor dental hygiene. These bacteria eat the same food as we do and thrive on sugars in our food and drinks. These same bacteria release acids, responsible for the breakdown of minerals in our teeth.
Depending on the seriousness of the tooth decay process, tooth decay needs different kinds of treatment. Holes formed by mild tooth decay are experienced by nearly every person, at least once in their life. The holes are filled by your dentist, and the tooth can be used again.
Severe tooth decay might result in having the tooth capped with a crown, to protect the damaged part of the tooth.
Root canal treatment is also an option. In root canal treatment the infected core of the tooth (the pulp) is removed, thus removing the infection inside the tooth.
Extraction of the tooth is the last option if severe tooth decay has damaged the tooth to a point where it cannot be treated anymore.
There are different types of dental fillings. They are as follows:
Amalgam fillings (also known as metal fillings)
This type of filling contain mercury. Mercury in dental fillings has been questioned as the absorption of the body of mercury could contribute to diseases such as dementia and multiple sclerosis.
Amalgam fillings are made up of a composition of metals containing silver, copper, tin and zinc and mercury liquid.
Amalgam dental fillings tend to blacken over time and there is a small risk of small amounts of mercury ending up in the body with this type of filling.
At Longwood-house we offer the alternative high strength composite/white fillings and porcelain inlays.
Composite dental fillings look like a natural tooth and will not show any signs of a filling in the mouth when smiling or opening the mouth. These fillings are just as strong and durable as metal fillings.
Dr. Ahmed is the principle dentist at Long-wood House, she advocates the following TIPS to help you look after your teeth:
Dr. Ahmed says “You need to visit your dentist and hygienist every 6 months. You may think your dentist is looking for classic problems such as gum disease and tooth decay, however, dentists at Longwood House are trained to spot signs of erosion, oral cancer and other serious health problems linked to bad oral health.”
Many people think they are taking the healthy option when they drink a smoothie or fruit juice, but Dr. Ahmed points out that this isn’t the best choice for your teeth.
She says: “Smoothies, natural juices, cordial, concentrates and diet drinks are very acidic and erode the enamel on your teeth, which is why your teeth feel sticky after you drink them.” The answer? Drink water.
Dr. Ahmed says: “You can’t wear your teeth down by eating as our diet today is so soft. If people come to me with worn down teeth then it’s because they grind them in their sleep. Visit Longwood House if this is a problem for you, we can give you various types of mouth guards that will solve the problem.”
“Brushing and flossing are essential, but so is knowing how to do it correctly, ” says Dr. Ahmed. At Longwood house, the dentists and hygienists will make sure they show you how to take proper care of your teeth. Flossing, in particular, takes practice but once you get the hang of it, it won’t take you any time at all. We can also provide you with a mouthwash with an active ingredient that will kill bacteria.
Once again, these are great as long as you know how to use them. Dentists at Longwood House can show you the right technique. Dr. Ahmed says: “If you don’t get it right then electric toothbrushes are little better than regular brushes. Though I prefer vibrating ones to the rotating ones.”
Fluoride treatments and fissure sealants are two recommended methods to protect your teeth from decay.
Fluoride it is best known as being the most effective substance that helps with preventing tooth decay and most oral health problems. Consumed in the right amounts, fluoride works by strengthening remineralisation and stopping bacteria from creating acids.
Fissure sealantsare acrylic coatings that are applied on the grooves of the back teeth. The sealant forms a protective coating that prevents food and bacteria from being trapped in tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay.
You can read about the benefits of fluoride here
Monday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM