This patient is a 47 year old man who used to drink a lot of Coke and eat lots of M&M’s. He had extensive decay along the gum line and extending under his gums on all his back teeth. These photos are of his upper right and left quadrant teeth before and immediately after. I was able to restore all these teeth without gum surgery or root canals. And his smile looks so much better now.
This patient is a 26 year old woman who uses an Advair asthma inhaler. The inhaler causes dry mouth which allowed these cavities to form. If you use an inhaler always rinse out with water after and brush your teeth as soon as you can following inhaler use. Make sure to see your dentist regularly to check for tooth decay. The cavity in the last molar was to the nerve. I was able to avoid a root canal by placing a vitrebond pulp cap over the exposed nerve and a ceramic composite restoration to restore the tooth. Looks great!!!
This patient had deep decay on her teeth. I extracted her back molars and was able to save this premolar tooth with a pulp cap and a bonded ceramic restoration.
These photos are of a 30 year old lady with a large cavity in her last upper molar. I was able to save the tooth and restore it with a bonded composite restoration without a root canal in 30 minutes. The procedure was totally painless and she was very pleased and had no discomfort after. The tooth will require a porcelain crown in the future.
This patient liked to eat candy, and as a result developed many cavities. I removed the decay and restored the teeth with composite restorations.
It is true that sugar does cause cavities, but it’s not the sugar directly. The naturally occurring streptococcus bacteria that live in our mouths consume the sugar, ferment it, and produce acid such as lactic acid. It is these acids that cause teeth demineralization and the formation of cavities. So it is actually the acid from the bacteria in plaque in our mouth that eats the holes in our teeth causing cavities.
Here’s the interesting part, it’s not the total amount of sugar we eat, but the total amount of time the sugar is in contact with our teeth. It is preferable to have a piece of pumpkin pie with a scoop of ice cream for Thanksgiving dessert, than sip on a soda all afternoon. It is better to have a few sugar cookies, or slice of Christmas apple pie, than to repeatedly sip coffee with sugar all morning long. One Altoids mint or cough drop per hour throughout the day is ten times more cavity producing than 1 big piece of cake for dessert, even though the cake has much more sugar and calories.
The repeated cycles of eating sugar and acid formation is what is the key. It is the frequency, or the amount of time the sugar is in the mouth, not the total amount of sugar. So do enjoy a few scrumptious (and quick) holiday desserts, just please make sure to brush and floss after every meal and visit your dentist regularly. Happy Holidays!!!
Philip A. Gentry, DDS, FAGD
When deep decay that is close to the tooth pulp is present in a tooth, many times it requires a root canal. In this 35 year old patient, Dr. Gentry restores her upper bicuspid tooth without a root canal or crown. Gentry cleans out the decay, places a Vitrabond glass ionomer pulp cap, and places a Herculite composite restoration, using the Garrison Matrix System.
Cavities are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes. Cavities, also called tooth decay or caries, are caused by a combination of factors, including bacteria in your mouth, frequent snacking, sipping sugary drinks, and not cleaning your teeth well. Cavities and tooth decay are among the world’s most common health problems.
If cavities aren’t treated, they get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth. They can lead to severe toothache, infection and tooth loss. Regular dental visits and good brushing and flossing habits are your best protection against cavities and tooth decay.
Some examples of Dr. Gentry fixing patient’s dental cavities: