When you visit a dentist for a routine examination and cleaning, one of the main things the dentist will look for in your mouth is tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when acid eats away at a tooth. If the decay is not removed, it will continue damaging the tooth until there is no tooth left to damage. If your dentist finds decay on a tooth that has already been filled in the past, he or she may not be able to perform a regular filling on the tooth; however, it must still be fixed, and a dental crown is often the solution for a tooth in this condition.
What dentists look for with cavities
Dentists are able to spot big cavities on teeth just by looking at a person's teeth, but they are able to spot smaller ones with x-rays and with probing the teeth with a scaler. A scaler is a dental tool with a pointed end. A dentist will push the point onto areas of a tooth that look suspicious. When a cavity first develops, it will be slightly soft and sticky, and the dentist can see this when using a scaler.
When a dentist finds a cavity, he or she will look at three main details. The first detail is the size of the cavity, and this is in terms of how much tooth is affected by the cavity. The second detail is how deep the cavity is. If the cavity is just starting to form, it will usually just be on the outer surface. If the cavity is left unaddressed, it can become so deep within the tooth that it can infect the roots of the tooth and the gums around it. The third detail dentists look for is the overall condition of the tooth affected by the decay.
What dentists need in order to fill cavities
No matter how big or deep a cavity is, the dentist will recommend removing it and fixing it. Dentists will always want to use regular fillings to fix cavities, but there are times when this is just not an option. For example, if the decay is really deep and is covering a good portion of the tooth, a regular filling might not work.
Another example is when decay is found on a tooth that has already had one or more regular fillings. For a filling to hold on a tooth, the tooth must have enough of its original structure in place. Each time a tooth gets a filling, it loses some of its original structure, and this is why your dentist might not be able to fill yet another cavity on this same tooth. The tooth simply will not be strong enough to hold another filling in place, and this could lead to the filling coming loose or falling out.
Why crowns are a good solution
The good news is that there is another way to fix a tooth like this. If you get decay on a tooth that cannot handle another filling, your dentist will probably suggest getting a dental crown. A dental crown is typically made of porcelain and is custom-made to fit over an existing tooth. To put this on your tooth, the dentist will remove the decay and any old fillings. He or she will then create impressions of the tooth to use to create a crown that will fit perfectly.
If you have another cavity on a tooth and cannot get it filled, choosing a dental crown is a great option. To learn more about cavities and crowns, contact a dentist, such as those at Bae & Bae Family Denistry, today to schedule a consultation visit.