Assorted dental tools on a tray.

Dental caries or tooth decay is an infectious disease which damages the structures of the teeth. The disease can cause a toothache, tooth loss, infection of the jaw bone and much more. Caries are caused by acid-producing bacteria that feed on fermentable carbohydrates including sucrose, fruit sugars and glucose. The higher level of acidity in the mouth due to this bacteria activity dissolves the mineral content of the tooth causing tooth decay. The best prevention besides good home care is to limit the exposure of such sugar and high carbohydrates in food and drinks.

Once a cavity is present, the only treatment is to remove the affected area and place a dental restoration (filling). Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth. There are two main types of fillings, amalgam (silver) or composite (white) material. These materials are used to replace the removed/missing tooth structure to restore function and integrity of the tooth. This will prevent further damage to the teeth and eliminate previous sensitivity in some cases.

Your dentist will discuss which material will work best for your treatment plan taking into account cost and cosmetic appearance.