Tooth decay caused by bacterial activity is a common oral hygiene problem which can lead to tooth loss without dental care treatment. This decay, also referred to as dental caries, occurs when the bacteria begin to break down the hard surface of the tooth. The enamel, dentin and cementum layers of the tooth are eroded away, exposing the soft tissue (pulp) and nerves of the tooth.
Dental caries can be prevented from causing further damage to your teeth with the application of a protective sealant on the tooth enamel. This sealant forms a physical barrier that fills in the pores and fissures of the enamel where bacteria can take hold.
The sealant is applied as a liquid, then cured with UV light for a solid protective layer on the tooth enamel surface. Your dentist may first use a topical acid etch to form a better adhesive surface for the sealant. When the sealant cures, it can reduce the risk of cavities by up to 80%.
Another effective weapon against cavities for patients with a history of tooth decay is the use of fluoride treatments. Fluoride has been shown to prevent tooth decay and even repair the early effects of caries on the hard surface of the teeth. In addition to your personal oral hygiene regimen, an application of fluoride directly to the teeth provides a strong preventive system to keep your teeth healthy and white.
Topical fluoride treatments are a valuable tool in dental caries prevention for patients whose teeth enamel may be damaged, who have difficulty creating saliva (dry mouth) which helps to clean the teeth and mouth of bacteria or whose dietary habits make them susceptible to tooth decay. Your Carolina Smiles Family Dentistry team can advise you on whether you are a good candidate for topical fluoride treatment and how to reduce your risk of tooth decay. Contact our practice today to schedule your next appointment.