Tooth cavities are one of the most common dental problems. It’s rare that people make it through life without developing at least one cavity. Children are especially susceptible, but you can get a cavity at any stage of life. At Carraway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we prevent and treat cavities for patients of all ages.
What Causes Cavities?
Everyone has bacteria in their mouth. Some bacteria are more harmful than others. Oral healthcare is important to get the bad bacteria away from your smile. Keeping your mouth cleaner makes you less likely to have too many bad bacteria. It makes it harder for you to get a cavity.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet helps you prevent cavities, too. Sugar is what bacteria feed on. You’ve probably heard about avoiding too many sodas or sweets. But carbohydrates and starches break down into sugars too. Pasta, bread, and other carbs break down into simple sugars as they’re being digested, providing more food for these bacteria.
Time is the last factor in tooth decay. The longer bacteria have a food source, the more likely they are to form a cavity. The saliva in your mouth keeps it at a neutral pH. Bacteria feed on sugars and produce acid, changing the pH in your mouth. This acidic level is conducive to tooth decay. If you’re snacking a lot throughout the day or drinking soda, you’re constantly giving bacteria a food source, and they continue to produce acid.
Treating Tooth Cavities
Typically, we treat cavities with dental fillings. Amalgam fillings with mercury in them used to be the common material for fillings. Now, most fillings are composite resin matching your teeth’ color. It’s more subtle and much less noticeable in your mouth. They also don’t come with the danger and toxicity of mercury in your mouth.
Before treatment, we use a local anesthetic to ensure you’re numb and will be comfortable throughout the procedure. We completely remove any infected material and thoroughly clean your tooth cavity. The dental filling material adheres to the tooth for a long-lasting solution. We ensure that the filling is hardened and set how it should be. You should be able to use this tooth like your natural tooth without pain.
For larger areas of decay, we may need to use an inlay or onlay. These are the step between a dental filling and a dental crown. Inlays fill in the hollow of your tooth, but they don’t impact the cusps. Onlays also take care of the cusps and are sometimes called partial crowns. They treat many things a crown can treat but are less invasive.
Preventing Dental Cavities
We want to help prevent cavities from happening, even if you’ve had one before. Our office dedicates itself to preventative care so that we don’t have to result to more invasive measures. We’ll talk to you about your diet, recommend oral healthcare products, and discuss the best ways to take care of oral health when you’re at home.
If you think you have a cavity, come into our office as soon as possible. Don’t let decay continue to get worse. If you leave a cavity alone, it continues to eat away at your tooth. This can lead to an abscess, painful infection in the pulp, or even tooth loss.
Schedule an Appointment
Do you think you have a cavity? Call us or schedule an appointment online to get treatment.