Tooth decay is a common and highly painful dental problem. This problem is caused by a buildup of harmful bacteria on teeth. Bacteria feed on sugars and starches left in the mouth. Over time, plaque, a sticky bacterial film, covers the teeth. Eventually, bacteria create digestive acids when feeding on food debris that breaks down the tooth enamel. Common symptoms of tooth decay include toothaches, cavities, and tooth sensitivity. Many patients who notice signs of tooth decay can receive care in our Arlington Heights, IL office. Our dental team offers preventative care against decay and can treat patients who already have more moderate signs of infection with cleanings, dental fillings, and extractions.
Prevent Tooth Decay in Arlington, IL
One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay is to brush and floss daily. Although it may seem simple, it is important to care for your smile properly. Brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing at least once a day before brushing can keep harmful bacteria at bay. You can brush at a 45-degree angle by the gum line, starting at the outside of the teeth and moving to the chewing surfaces and insides. If you have a manual toothbrush, brush in circular motions.
Visiting the dentist twice a year, or every six months, can also help prevent dental infections. During these visits, our dental hygienists offer thorough dental cleanings that remove plaque and tartar from the smile. Plaque is a sticky bacterial film that can harden to form tartar or calculus. Scaling the teeth and gums gently can prevent bacterial buildup that causes decay.
Root Canals and Extractions
If tooth decay reaches the inside of the tooth, it infects the pulp. The dental pulp comprises the nerves and blood vessels that keep a tooth alive. Once the pulp is infected, we need to remove it to prevent the spread of infection. A root canal treatment removes the pulp, cleans the tooth, and seals the tooth with a filling.
Sometimes, we will need to extract teeth if a root canal is not possible. During dental extractions, we numb the treated area and remove the infected tooth. Sometimes, we will need to use sedation if we perform a complex extraction. Complex dental extractions remove teeth at or below the gum line.
Once the extraction site heals, we will recommend a dental restoration. Dental implants are one of the most versatile restorations for patients with one or more missing teeth. Implants are titanium posts that replace teeth at the root. Although patients with extreme decay will eventually restore their smiles, we recommend that patients call our office as soon as they notice a change in their oral health.
Are you noticing signs of tooth damage or infection? Contact Dr. Brent Engelberg and his team at AH Smiles today at (847) 230-9703. You can also schedule a dental appointment with Dr. Engelberg online. If you have questions or concerns about your oral health, please let us know at your next dental visit. We are always here to help.