At some point in your life, you may be faced with treating cavities by your dentist. As a product of tooth decay, which results from harmful oral bacteria, cavities are holes in your teeth that continue to grow larger until your dentist treats them. The good news is that, despite being one of the most common dental conditions, cavities are highly treatable. No matter how minor or severe your cavity is, your dentist can provide the optimal solution to stopping it from growing and replacing the tooth structure you’ve lost.
Are you concerned about dental cavities? Whether you have struggled with cavities in the past, are worried that your kids may have developed some, or are simply curious what can be done to prevent and treat the most common dental problem, cavities, it can be extremely helpful to learn about the causes and treatment for dental cavities. By making a few healthy decisions, about what you eat and how you care for your teeth, you can help prevent cavities, and enjoy an all-around healthier smile!
What Creates Cavities In the First Place?
Cavities are caused when acidic erosion begins to wear away the enamel of the teeth, leaving the more sensitive layer beneath it, the dentin, exposed. At this point, many patients experience heightened sensitivity, especially with hot or cold foods, and anything high in sugar content. They can also often spot visible discoloration, and may struggle with downright dental pain, as well.
Plaque bacteria is responsible for most cavities, because it feeds on the sugars and starches a person consumes, then creates acidity. To help prevent plaque buildup, it is wise to eat a well-balanced diet that is filled with nutrient-rich foods, and low in added sugars. Drinking predominantly water can also help prevent plaque buildup, as it helps you develop saliva, which is a natural defense against bacteria buildup.
Don’t Ignore Symptoms of Problems
Teeth are incredibly strong. In fact, they are one of the strongest natural substances on earth. Unfortunately, they lack the ability to repair themselves the way so many other parts of the body can. This means that while a scrape or bruise might heal on its own, over time, the teeth are quite different. If you have noticed discoloration or discomfort that could be symptoms of a cavity, these are likely to worsen over time, without treatment. Treating cavities is something you do right away.
Address Issues Quickly for Restored Comfort
Fortunately, when a cavity is addressed quickly, it can usually be corrected through minimally invasive dental fillings. These were once made primarily of metal, but they can now be made of a composite resin material that looks natural and feels comfortable. This allows for increased comfort, and confidence, as well. So there really is no reason to delay a restorative appointment.
Fillings Are Usually Enough
Cavities develop and grow progressively, and the longer you have a cavity, the more extensive your treatment will be. Fortunately, most patients seek treatment in time to restore the cavity with a conservative, custom-designed filling. After cleaning away the infected tooth structure and lingering oral bacteria, your dentist can place a biocompatible filling in the cavity to fortify the tooth and stop bacteria from reentering the cavity.
Root Canal Treatment Might Be Necessary
When you hesitate to seek treatment for your cavity, then a filling might not work by the time you visit your dentist. If the decay reaches the internal part of your tooth, known as the pulp, then your dentist will have to perform root canal therapy to treat it. The procedure involves cleaning away the infection and bacteria from within your tooth’s internal chamber, then sealing the pup and root canal so that they remain strong enough to support your healthy tooth structure.
Regular Hygiene and Routine Dental Care Can Help Prevent Cavities
Daily brushing and flossing can help prevent many cavities, because they limit plaque buildup. However, even with a healthy diet and diligent dental hygiene, it is still important to visit the dentist regularly for routine checkups and cleanings. These are essential to enjoying oral health, as well as catching any dental issues that have developed early, when minimally invasive treatment, like a dental filling, should still be sufficient to restore the tooth and the smile’s overall health!
One of the most important ways you can protect your smile is by seeing the dentist at least twice a year for professional preventive care. This should include a thorough checkup and a dental cleaning, which helps to remove tartar buildup from the surface of teeth, where it can lead to cavities and even gum disease, if left untreated.
These appointments also allow the dentist to warn you of any burgeoning issues, such as gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease.
Be sure to stay hydrated
Many people don’t realize the beneficial value of having plenty of saliva. If you don’t stay hydrated, you will have a dry mouth and be unable to fight cavities off.
Find Out More About Treating Cavities
If you are hoping to avoid dental decay, this year, you may already have taken some steps to take better care of your teeth. For instance, you might have committed to brush your teeth twice everyday, without fail. But if you wonder if there is more that you could be doing to help prevent cavities and other dental problems, chances are good that there are some other steps you could take to better protect your oral health. In fact, key preventive oral care might just be simpler than you think. It just requires some diligence, and knowledge about what good dental health requires.
If you have a cavity, then your specific treatment for it will depend on the nature and extent of your condition. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, at 847-234-0517. We also proudly serve residents of Chicago and all surrounding communities in the Chicago Metro area.