May 8, 2012

Tooth Decay and Fluoride

When we detect a weak spot on one of our patient’s teeth we recommend at–home fluoride treatments to reverse the decay process. If the weak spot is left unchecked, a cavity may form, necessitating a filling. If decay is allowed to spread it may penetrate deeper into the tooth until it enters the nerve chamber of the tooth. Once this happens the nerve of the tooth is infected and the bacteria that caused the decay keep traveling through the chamber, to the roots, through the root canals and eventually can cause an abscess at the tip of the root. This can also result in the destruction of dental bone at the tip of the tooth root. Decay going through these stages results in the need for root canal therapy in order to save the tooth and stop the infection. If the root canal therapy isn’t done, the tooth needs to be extracted to prevent the spread of infection.

Tooth decay often begins on biting surfaces, between the teeth, and on exposed roots. Cavities left untreated become larger. The decay spreads beneath the enamel, which is the outer part of the crown of the tooth, and can destroy the tooth structure.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the breakdown of enamel and speeding up the natural remineralization process. Common sources of fluoride are fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste and mouth rinse. Most NJ water is not fluoridated, so it’s important to understand the best way to protect your teeth and your family’s teeth from decay with the help of fluoride. We discuss which sources of fluoride are best for our patients.

 For information about other dental topics visit DrTav.com

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