For this month, I’d like to focus on how we can actually fix teeth without placing a filling or crown. When we eat or drink we are making cavities. It doesn’t matter if it’s juice, soda, vegetables, bread, crackers, candy, etc.; it all has sugar. The bacteria in our mouth takes this sugar and converts it into acid as a byproduct. When the acid falls below a certain level, pH 5.5, it starts to eat away the tooth structure. The saliva in the mouth then clears and neutralizes the acid and helps to repair the damage that has been done. In situations where there is more damage done, a cavity forms and you fix the tooth.
By controlling the amount of times we are eating and drinking during the day, we are limiting the time that breakdown of the tooth is occurring. This will lead to more time for repair, which will help prevent cavities. We can also help the tooth further by supplying the mouth with the building blocks of the tooth structure, hydroxyapatite. By using in office and at home products containing these building blocks, we can effectively rebuild the tooth if the damage is not too great. Anytime we can avoid a filling or crown, the tooth will have a much longer lifespan. We also now have the technology to monitor more accurately just how this rebuilding is going. Our goal is to repair as many teeth as possible with remineralization, leading to healthier, happier kids.
Dr. Boyd Simkins, DDS