Your Treatment Options for Cavities

Apr 29, 2016 @ 09:00 AM — by drmori

An illustration of a tooth that has been restored with a dental inlayCavities. No one wants to develop them, but almost everybody does as some point in their lives. Fortunately, if you do have a cavity, we offer a range of restorative dentistry treatments to improve the health of the affected tooth. At the practice of Joseph T. Mormino, DDS, we can use a dental filling, inlay, onlay, or crown to restore your tooth. These tooth-colored restorations fill in areas that have been lost to decay, lending strength and support to the damaged tooth. To find out which treatment for cavities is right for you, contact our Staten Island, NY practice today.

Cavity Treatment: Stage 1

The first step of cavity treatment is to remove any infected or damaged tissues. If the cavity only affects the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth, we will remove the damaged tooth structure with a dental drill. First, a numbing medication will be applied to the tooth and gums to maintain your comfort. Then, we will use dental tools and water irrigation to clean out all signs of infection. When this is complete, the tooth is ready to be restored.

If the cavity has grown and bacteria have reached the inner root canals of the tooth, we will perform root canal therapy. In this procedure, we will use dental files to remove diseased tissue from the root canals. Once the infection has been eliminated, we will fill the root canals with a rubber compound. The tooth can then be restored, typically with a dental crown.

Cavity Treatment: Stage 2

When all signs of tooth decay have been treated, we can restore the tooth with a:

  • Dental filling: A dental filling is the most conservative treatment option for fillings. This treatment involves the direct application of a tooth-colored composite resin to the cavity. The resin is applied and hardened in layers to fill in the hole, restoring the tooth’s strength and bite.
  • Inlay or onlay: Inlays and onlays differ from fillings in two significant ways. First, they are only used to treat cavities affecting the biting surface of the molars, whereas fillings can be used on any area of any tooth. Second, inlays and onlays are made of porcelain, and fabricated indirectly, in a lab setting. After cleaning your tooth, we will take impressions of it so lab technicians can craft the inlay or onlay. An inlay can be used to replace lost tooth structure within the indented surface of the molars, and an onlay can restore the indented surface and the cusps. When the custom inlay or onlay is fabricated, it is cemented onto the tooth, restoring its form and function.
  • Dental crown: Similar to an inlay or onlay, a dental crown is made of porcelain and fabricated indirectly in a dental lab, but the similarities end there. A dental crown can be used to completely encase any tooth, lending it the strength and support it needs to withstand the daily pressures of biting and chewing. A crown is used on a tooth that has suffered significant damage due to a large cavity, multiple cavities affecting a single tooth, and a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy.

To find out which treatment is right for you, contact Dr. Mormino’s practice today.

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