WHAT IS DENTAL DECAY?
Dental decay is caused by acid erosion of the outer layer of the tooth (enamel). Bacteria in the mouth combines with saliva and food particles to form a sticky film called plaque which adheres on the surfaces of teeth. Plaque forms especially easily in cracks, pits or fissures in the back teeth; between teeth; around dental fillings or bridgework – all areas which are notably difficult to clean.
If a patient has decay in their tooth – the tooth will generally exhibit symptoms of pain and sensitivity to hot, cold and sweets.
The standard treatment for decay is to fill the tooth. Fillings usually are made of a dental amalgam, which is a silver material, or of a composite resin, which is tooth-coloured for a better appearance.
If a cavity is large, the remaining tooth may not be able to support the amount of filling material that would be needed to repair it. In this case, the dentist will remove the decay, fill the cavity, and cover the tooth with an artificial crown.