A majority of people will experience at least one cavity in their lifetime. This means that many individuals have treated this early form of tooth decay with a dental filling that remains in their smiles.
Once your dentist treats a cavity, it is gone for good. But if your dental filling sustains damage, you could be at risk of getting a new cavity under it, a condition that dentists refer to as recurrent tooth decay. Read on to learn more about the formation, treatment, and prevention of recurrent decay.
What Is Recurrent Tooth Decay?
A cavity is a form of tooth decay that erodes a hole into the enamel of your tooth. A dentist gets rid of this issue by drilling it away and filling the hole with composite resin that creates a seal over this vulnerable section of the tooth.
The dental filling stops plaque and other harmful residues from infiltrating this part of the tooth. However, if a filling wears down or falls out of place, the seal breaks.
This means that plaque can reach this area of the tooth and form another cavity under the filling. A cavity can also form on this same tooth on the areas of the tooth around the dental filling. The new cavity is known as recurrent tooth decay.
How Will Dentists Treat Recurrent Tooth Decay?
If your dentist sees that a dental filling or other dental work has suffered damage, they can check for recurrent tooth decay. Dentists can spot this type of dental damage on an x-ray.
Your dentist will treat this problem similarly to how they would with an initial cavity. First, they must access this section of the tooth by removing the prior and damaged dental work. You will receive a local anesthetic before this procedure so that you do not experience discomfort.
Then the dentist drills away the decayed portion of the tooth and gives the patient another dental filling. If the decay has advanced to affect a larger surface area of the tooth, the dentist may need to use a dental crown to cover the tooth and provide a more extensive shield and seal.
How Do I Prevent Cavities Forming Under My Dental Work?
You can lower your chances of getting cavities of any kind by practicing good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing every day will remove plaque in a timely fashion from your smile, ensuring it does not erode the enamel of your teeth and cause decay.
You can prevent recurrent tooth decay more specifically when you protect your prior dental work. High amounts of pressure could harm a dental filling or crown, which may lead to its seal breaking and exposing it to plaque and other dangers.
Avoid biting down on hard items if possible to avert this type of dental emergency. Grinding and clenching your teeth also generates pressure that could damage your dental work. Talk to your dentist to find ways to stop bruxism or protect your smile from this pressure.