Restorative Dentistry Options for Tooth Decay By James Stein on July 01, 2015

Smiling couple in the park If you have developed a cavity, there are several restorative dentistry options available. The most appropriate solution for you will primarily depend on how far the decay has spread. For example, a filling is usually enough to restore the tooth structure that is lost to a small cavity, but if you have extensive decay, you may need a full crown. No matter which treatment you require, Dr. Stein will provide outstanding care to restore your oral function and maintain the esthetics of your smile. He will start with the most conservative option, but if you need more extensive treatment, you are sure to enjoy effective, minimal discomfort care. To learn more about the tooth decay treatments we offer, contact our Boston practice today.

Understanding Tooth Decay

Dr. Stein wants you to be fully informed about your dental health so you can play an active role in planning your treatment. Therefore, it is important to understand a little bit about the process of tooth decay. A cavity begins when bacteria feed on sugars and starches, and create acids. The acids will erode your dental enamel, eventually wearing through this protective layer. When this process occurs, the bacteria can enter into the deeper layers of your tooth, and a cavity will develop. It is important to treat the cavity as soon as possible since bacteria can spread quickly.

Conservative Fillings

When you seek treatment in the early stages, Dr. Stein will usually recommend a dental filling. Your filling can be made from several different materials, including silver amalgam, gold, or tooth-colored composite. All three materials will strengthen your tooth and prevent bacteria from reentering your tooth. However, metal fillings may eventually give your tooth a grayish tint. For optimal esthetics, choose a composite filling. Composite comes in numerous shades, and Dr. Stein will find one that matches your natural tooth color.

Custom-Crafted Crowns for More Severe Decay

If a cavity has grown larger, affecting a greater percentage of your tooth, you may need a dental crown. Crowns are tooth-shaped restorations that will fully cover your damaged tooth. Like fillings, crowns can be crafted from metal. However, Dr. Stein only offers ceramic crowns. The material will harmonize with the color of your teeth, and it has a natural sparkle. To place your crown, Dr. Stein will remove bacteria and damaged material. Then he will reshape your tooth so that there is room for the restoration. He will take impressions of your tooth to ensure a comfortable, secure fit.

Inlays and Onlays Are a Moderate Option

If your cavity is too big for a filling but not quite large enough for a crown, Dr. Stein may recommend an inlay or onlay. These restorations are similar to crowns since they are custom-designed to match the shape and color of your teeth. However, inlays and onlays will only cover the top chewing surfaces of your molars. Inlays are smaller and will fit between the cusps. Onlays extend to the cusps. Both will be crafted from lifelike dental porcelain.

What Is the Right Treatment for You?

To learn more about your treatment options, contact our office today. We will schedule your consultation with Dr. Stein so he can provide you with the most effective care.

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Drs. Stein

James M. Stein, DMD

Our dental practice has been trusted by Boston patients for over 30 years. Together, Dr. James M. Stein and Brett E. Stein are members of various renowned organizations, including: 

  • American Dental Association
  • Massachusetts Dental Society
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American College of Prosthodontists

If you are ready to achieve optimal oral and overall health, call our office at (617) 227-6076 or request an appointment online.

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