A few years ago, I started thinking carefully about what I could do to improve my smile. I had lived with crooked, yellowed teeth for most of my adult life, and honestly, I just wanted to feel beautiful. I started thinking about working with a cosmetic dentist, and before I knew it, I was in an office getting a complimentary consultation. I learned about a variety of different procedures that could improve my look, and it was really fun. I wanted to create a blog all about making smiles more beautiful, which is why I made this website. Check out this blog for great information about dentistry.
Crowns and fillings are fantastic at restoring the form and function of a tooth. But what if a cavity forms beneath or around a restoration? This is known as a recurrent cavity; and, if it's left unchecked, it could cause deeper cavities, abscess, or destroy the tooth pulp. Thankfully, there are two ways to catch this issue in the early stages.
If a cavity is on a tooth without a restoration, the dentist can actually see signs—such as discoloration. They can actually use a metal instrument, like a dental explorer, to feel for cavities. Cavities tend to soften up the enamel. But when a recurrent cavity is under a filling, these visual and tactile methods are harder to use—that's why it is so important to get x-rays if you already have fillings.
On the x-ray film, a cavity will be less dense, so it will have a grayish tone compared to very white tones of restorations and healthy enamel. Once a recurrent cavity is caught on an x-ray the dentist can help you decide the best course of action.
Laser fluorescence is a relatively new technology in the dentistry world. These handheld lasers are safe and are a painless way to look for cavities. The laser usually has two tips. One laser tip can look at smoother surfaces or between teeth where the dental explorer tool cannot reach. The other laser tip is used for contoured or occlusal surfaces.
If a cavity is present, it will actually absorb the light and glow. Cavity-causing bacteria, like streptococcus mutans, contain compounds of pigments called porphyrins. These pigments absorb the laser's energy and then release it at a different wavelength compared to the surrounding enamel. Lasers also check the porosity of the enamel; cavities create voids, which again will fluoresce and react differently to healthy teeth. Laser fluorescence is not only useful for spotting recurring cavities but also for plaque hidden beneath the gumline and for oral cancers.
It's important to consider one of these detection methods if you have restorations in your mouth. If you do have a recurrent cavity, your dentist may choose to simply monitor it at each check-up, as some decay is arrested. If the decay is progressive or severe, you and your dentist can talk further about fixing it with inlays, onlays, extractions, replacement crowns, etc. Contact a dentist in your area today to learn more about recurring cavities.Share
30 July 2018