Basic Information on Dental Caries (Decay)

What is it?

Dental caries occurs when certain bacteria in the mouth has access to sugar over a period of time. A tooth with a cavitated dental caries lesion should be restored sooner rather than later. Delays will increase the risk of further damage which may mean the need for root canal treatment (if the tooth is still restorable) or extraction. 


The main causes of dental decay are inadequate cleaning of teeth and/or excessive exposure to sugary food or drinks.


What treatment do you recommend?

Generally, with a small cavity, we recommend a direct restoration (white filling) that can be completed in one visit.

With larger cavities that affect about half the tooth, we recommend an indirect restoration (onlay or crown) that normally require two visits to complete. Such restorations are stronger and therefore more durable.

Additional notes

The two main causes of restoration failures are dental decay and fractures. Therefore, to maximize the longevity of the restorations, you must have good dental habits (i.e. good oral hygiene, healthy diet and regular dental check and clean visits) and avoid excessive forces on the teeth (e.g. chewing hard food such as nuts, removing bottle caps with your teeth and managing night-time grinding or clenching).