As soon as it becomes deep enough, it is important to remove the decay, clean and repair the tooth.
White (composite) fillings are tooth-coloured (compared to the silver amalgam ones) and are usually made from a resin that is mixed with powdered glass quartz, silica or other forms of ceramic. They are aesthetically better than amalgam fillings and have been developed extensively in recent years so that they can be made to mimic the natural tooth layers very closely. White fillings bond chemically to teeth, thus can be used to strengthen and protect teeth with thin and fragile cusps. This is not the case with amalgam fillings, as they put a lot of pressure on teeth and tend to eventually break.
Although very much improved over recent years, the strength of white fillings is lower than some other materials in certain situations. When restoring whole or large parts of front and back teeth, sometimes inlays/onlays need to be used, especially where the biting forces are high.
An inlay is a small setting within the biting surface of the tooth. An onlay is a facing which restores and replaces the whole biting surface of the tooth. Inlays & onlays can be made of either ceramic (including porcelain) or gold.
Ceramics offer the advantage that they can be perfectly shade matched to the remaining tooth and also that it can be chemically bonded to the tooth, making it very strong. Gold offers the advantage that it can be made very thin and still keep its strength, and so can be useful in back teeth where there is very little space to restore the tooth.
Onlays offer the advantage of requiring less tooth cutting than for crowns, therefore preserve as much natural tooth surface as possible whilst being virtually as strong as crowns.
Root Canal Treatment
This treatment is sometimes necessary if the nerve in the tooth is dead or dying or if the tooth is likely to die in the future. The process involves cleaning the internal parts of the tooth and removing as much bacteria and diseased tissue as possible. In the majority of cases, this will allow the tooth to be kept and maintained in the mouth. In many cases, it is desirable to place a crown or an onlay soon after the root canal treatment has been completed to help strengthen the tooth and protect it from further bacteria.
A root canal treatment is performed under a local anaesthetic and should feel much like having a regular filling done, although it may take a little longe