More than 90 percent of Americans will have at least one cavity in their lives, according to the National Institutes of Health.
To put that another way, if you made a list of 20 people, 18 or 19 of them will probably have a cavity if they haven’t had one already.
That’s a lot of tooth decay. It’s also a reason you may want to visit our dentist office in Woodbury, MN. Our prosthodontist, Dr. Mark W. Wilhelm, can answer your questions and provide a solution to get rid of the decay or replace a tooth that is too far gone to be saved.
What Is A Prosthodontist?
A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in dental restorations.
Dr. Wilhelm graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine in 1985. He then continued his education at Indiana University, where he completed a Master of Science in Dentistry and specialty certificates in Prosthodontics and Maxillofacial Prosthetics.
In 1990, he opened his own practice, which has been focused on cosmetic and advanced restorative dentistry, including dental implants. We also offer sedation dentistry for the comfort of our patients.
For Dr. Wilhelm, one of the most rewarding parts of being a prosthodontist has been helping thousands of patients feel more confident by restoring or improving their smiles.
Different Ways Of Dealing With Tooth Decay
In a perfect world, we could prevent tooth decay all the time. Then, no one would have a cavity much less the bigger problems than can develop.
As we know from our introduction, we don’t live in that perfect world. We live in a world where cavities are incredibly common. As such, here are some of the ways we may be able to help you deal with the effects of tooth decay.
▶ Removing and replacing a tooth
We are going to start with the worst-case option and work backward. You don’t want to lose your tooth, but you also don’t want to lose more teeth than necessary.
The bacteria that cause tooth decay can eat deep into a tooth. The longer they hang around, the more damage they can do. If they do enough damage, the only option may be to remove the tooth.
That can eliminate the infection, but it still may leave you vulnerable to additional tooth loss. This is why replacing the tooth is just as important. We can place a dental implant where you old tooth once was. Then we can attach a dental crown to keep your smile intact and to restore your ability to bite and chew your food.
▶ Repairing the tooth with a crown
Dental crowns are an invaluable part of our practice. They can fix broken and chipped teeth, but they also can be used to repair teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay.
A large cavity can weaken the structure of your tooth. In those cases, it’s better to remove the parts that have damaged and reform the healthy parts into an abutment. Then, a dental crown can be bonded in place.
The materials used to make modern dental crowns look like real teeth and are strong enough to last for decades if you care for them properly.
Partial crowns, called inlays and onlays, may be all you need in some circumstances. An inlay repairs the inside biting surface of your teeth, while an onlay fixes the outer biting surface.
▶ Filling the cavity with dental bonding
Tooth bonding or dental bonding uses the same composite resin that is used for tooth-colored dental fillings. As such, this is another way to filling in a tooth with a cavity.
The bonding material can be made to match the appearance of your natural teeth, and it can restore the function of that tooth as well. The first step, however, is removing the decay so the bonding material will both fill and seal the tooth as protection from another infection.
When you have tooth decay, it can affect your smile. Don’t let tooth decay ruin your day.
Call Dr. Wilhelm at 651-319-9064 or contact our dentist office in Woodbury, MN, with our online form. Request an appointment to find out what we can do to help you.
The sooner you get help, the easier your treatment will be.