Dental cavities are the most common dental problem dentist see in their patients. Cavities can happen to anyone, although, it can be commonly found among children. It’s a constant problem we see and face which can be treated with various dental procedures depending on the patient’s case. Not all treatment plans are suitable for everyone or every dental case.
To know more about dental procedures treating cavities, we’ve compiled a brief overview of what cavities are, how you get them, and symptoms.
Also known as tooth decay or caries, is when the structure of your tooth’s enamel has been permanently damaged by developing tiny openings or holes which can become larger affecting other layers of the tooth if left untreated.
A variety of factors can cause tooth decay such as
- Plaque – the buildup of plaque is food to the bacteria in our mouth. When plaque isn’t cleaned well, it can stay on our teeth and over time become hard and turn into plaque which is difficult to remove. Not to mention the acids the plaque produces that erode our tooth’s enamel and minerals causing the tiny openings.
- Poor Oral Hygiene – not maintaining healthy oral habits can contribute to plaque buildup and acids attacking our teeth.
- Diet – eating a diet full in with carbohydrates and sugar play a role in the health of our mouth since food particles can remain in our mouth until we clean it.
- Dry Mouth – although it can be a medical condition, it can often be a result of medications. Some medications can cause dry mouth as a side effect that reduces the saliva flow we need to breakdown foods and neutralize acids in our mouth.
- Medical Problems – health conditions can contribute to developing cavities due to changes in the mouth such as acid reflux causing stomach acid to erode the back of our molars when it comes into our mouth.
These factors that over time develop into cavities. Anyone can get tooth decay, and as there are causes, there are risk factors we need to account for as well especially when we have kids. With our children, we want to be mindful of the foods and drinks we serve them, letting them sleep with bottles in their mouth, and encouraging good oral habits.
One of the best ways to detect if you have a cavity is by visiting your dentist when you begin to show symptoms of a cavity. Make an appointment with your dentist if you start to experience any of the following signs
- Tooth sensitivity
- Toothache (can occur spontaneously as well)
- Pain when eating or drinking hot or cold
- Pressure pain when biting down.
- Noticeable brown or black holes in your tooth.
More often than not we’re not aware we have a cavity developing until there is discomfort or pain.
Dental Procedures to Treat Cavities
After a dentist has diagnosis a cavity, the type of treatment you receive is dependent on the severity of the case and location. There are common dental treatments which are used, but each procedure is different. The following are procedures are options for treating a cavity.
- Dental Filling – also known as restorations, is commonly used to treat a cavity by removing the portion of decay and then refilling it. Fillings are made of various materials such as porcelain or gold.
- Crown – a crown is used after there has been extensive damage to the tooth that is too big for a filling. A crown will be custom-fitted to your entire natural tooth by removing the decay part and restoring the tooth to ensure the crown fits. It’s mostly a protection cap place to prevent further damage to the tooth.
- Root Canal – once tooth decay has penetrated the layers of your tooth to the pulp, a root canal is needed. It’s a process which the infected pulp is removed from the tooth and replaced with a filling. It is the last effort of restoring and saving your natural tooth.
- Tooth Extraction – when a tooth has been severely damaged beyond repair, the tooth must be removed. In this case, two procedures are done, the tooth extraction and getting a bridge or implant to prevent shifts in your teeth caused by the gap left from removing your tooth.
The need for a full dental examination helps your dentist determine the diagnosis and recommended procedures to correct the damage done to the tooth. If you are experiencing symptoms of tooth decay, contact your dentist to make an appointment to get early treatment and prevent further damage. If you are due for a dental check-up or want to consult with your dentist about your symptoms, call our offices today at 801-747-8000 to book an appointment.
MouthHealthy.org – Decay
Mayo Clinic – Cavities/tooth decay