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Everything You Want to Know About: Cavities

Everything you want to know about: CAVITIES

 What is a Cavity?

A cavity is a hole that initially forms in the tooth also called decay. Cavities get their start when bacteria that live in a sticky film we call plaque, is exposed to sugar that we consume. As the bacteria come into contact with the sugar, they produce acid which causes breakdown of the outer layer of tooth called Enamel.  This starts the cavity process. Once the outer layer of tooth is broken through, cavities grow at a faster rate. If recession or gum disease is present, this means the root of the tooth is exposed. Exposed root is made of cementum, which is not as hard of a tissue as enamel, hence easier to get cavities.

 

Who gets Cavities?

This is an issue that can affect anyone, at any age that has natural teeth. Cavities can form on: baby teeth, permanent teeth, under old fillings, under crowns, or anywhere between.

 

What can I do to reduce my chances of getting cavities?

Brush two times per day with fluoride toothpaste (non fluoride if children are under age, check with your dentist). Floss your teeth daily, limit the sugar in your diet, regular dental checkups and cleanings, including necessary x-rays. Sometimes there are supplemental and alternatives suggestions that your dentist may consider based upon your unique needs, such as: prescription fluoride and sealants.

 

What if I get a Cavity?

Many, if not most people are affected by cavities at some point in their life. The important thing is that if you have a cavity, see your dentist and get it fixed. Untreated cavities get deeper, become painful, and can lead to loss of teeth, and infections. It is always easier and cheaper to “fix” a cavity when its small. The deeper the cavity gets, the more the price may increase to get it “fixed.”  Once a cavity reaches the pulp of the tooth, the patient will be left with decisions … and more expensive ones.  If you have dental pain or signs of infection see a dentist or healthcare provider immediately.

 


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