cavity and tooth decay

Cavities: How to tell if you have one and how to treat it

A cavity, as the name suggests, is quite literally a hole in your tooth. It’s also an extremely common condition. According to the national institute of health, cavities and tooth decay, are the second most commonly occurring condition, behind only the common cold. Despite how common they are, they can still be quite painful, and if left untreated, lead to more serious issues. In this article we’ll let you know what causes cavities, signs you might have one and how they can be treated.

How cavities form

The mouth is an area of the body that contains lots of normal bacteria. When you eat and drink, this bacteria will start to feed on the sugars that get left behind on your teeth. The left-behind sugars are turned into an acid which can wear away the enamel of your teeth. This can eventually turn into a cavity, if the acids aren’t cleaned off quickly enough (which is one of the reasons it’s so important to brush!)

What are the signs of a cavity?

In the earliest phases, you might not feel anything at all. Once a cavity starts to progress, you might feel a toothache, especially after eating foods and drinks that are sweet, hot or cold. The pain could be dull, or it could be sharp and intense. Same patients experience pain when they bite down. Depending on the size of the cavity, you might even be able to see pits of holes in the teeth.

What should you do if you think you might have a cavity?

You should make an appointment to see your dentist right away. Your dentist will take an X-ray to see how far the cavity has progressed.

How Will The Cavity Be Treated?

It depends on how bad the cavity has progressed. If the cavity has progressed to the point where you already feel pain, then it is likely some treatment will be needed. In moderate cases, your dentist will remove the part of your tooth that has decayed with a drill. He will then replace it with a filling. Most fillings tend to be silver, gold or porcelain, however we offer white fillings which tend to blend in better with your teeth.

If there is a significant amount of tooth decay, to the point where not much remains, crowns might need to be used in order to hold the tooth together.

If the pulp in the tooth has become infected due to the cavity, a root canal might also be needed.

Is it possible to reverse a cavity that’s already formed?

There is some evidence suggesting that cavities in their early stages can be reversed. Unfortunately, if you’ve gotten to the stage where you already feel pain, it’s probably too late for that to happen. That’s why the best way treatment is often good care and prevention.

How can I prevent cavities from forming?

There are four easy things you can do to give yourself and your loved ones the best chance against developing cavities.

First, watch what you eat and how often. Remember that sugars and starches are the culprits that get turned into acid causing cavities. If you eat a lot of these foods, and eat them frequently throughout the day, that will create more acid which can lead to a better chance of cavities

Second, brush properly, at least twice a day, to remove this acid build up on your teeth

Third, use fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that can prevent tooth decay, or even reverse it once it’s happened. It also reduces the ability of the bacteria to make acid. You can get fluoride by drinking fluoridated water, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste or  by obtaining gel or tablets from your dentist.

Lastly, it’s important to visit your dentist for regular checkups! At your dental visit, your dentist can remove any plaque that has built up, check for tooth decay and apply fluoride if necessary.