Urbana, MD FAQs About Cavities
Even the most common dental issues can also cause further complications for your smile. A cavity is the most common dental problem that affects children and adults of all ages. Whether your general dentist has told you that you have a cavity or you are just trying to learn more about them, turn to your Urbana, MD dentist for the answers you need.
What is a Cavity?
Often referred to as tooth decay, this problem causes holes to form in the enamel of your teeth. The holes, or “cavities” occur when plaque forms on the teeth and isn’t properly removed through daily brushing. Cavities can range in size and can grow and become more severe if left untreated.
What Causes Cavities?
Sugar is the number-one culprit for causing cavities. Whenever you consume foods or drinks with sugar, the substance is converted into acid by the bacteria naturally growing in your mouth. The acid is what eats away at healthy enamel. The more sugar you consume, the more acid attacks your beautiful smile. This will make you more susceptible to cavities.
What Are the Symptoms?
Unfortunately, not all cavities cause symptoms, so it can be difficult to know when there is a problem. That’s why it’s important to maintain those six-month visits to see your dentist, who can detect problems right away.
Some signs that you may have a cavity include:
- Tooth sensitivity
- A brown or black stain on your tooth
- A hole in your tooth
- Pain when you bite down
How Are Cavities Treated?
The treatment for a cavity depends on the extent of the tooth decay. If cavities are caught early on, fluoride treatments can help repair your tooth’s enamel, stopping the cavity in its tracks and perhaps even reversing it.
If the cavity has progressed to forming a hole in your tooth, your dentist must drill in the area of the hole to removed the decayed material. After the tooth decay is removed the dentist will use dental filling material to fill the cavity and restore the tooth’s surface.
If a cavity has gone far enough to infect the root of a tooth, you may experience pain and sensitivity when you bite down or eat hot and cold food or drinks. At this point, a root canal is necessary to remove the diseased tooth pulp and nerve endings in order to ease your pain and save the tooth. A dental crown is typically used to cap off a tooth after a root canal to protect and restore the tooth.
A tooth that is too damaged and decayed to be saved by a root canal, must be extracted to avoid infection and further complications.
What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated?
If you don’t visit your dentist for cavity treatment, this can cause serious issues for your smile in the long run. Complications can occur as a result of ignoring or leaving your cavity untreated.
Complications may include:
- Chronic or severe dental pain
- An abscess (an infected pus-like pocket that grows around the tooth)
- Pain or problems chewing food’
- An increased risk for a cracked or broken tooth
If you don’t seek treatment right away, the cavity could cause damage to the point that the problem might not be reversible and the tooth will need to be removed and replaced with a dental restoration like an implant or dental bridge.
The Importance of Prevention
Cavities don’t have to be a serious problem. By coming in every six-month for dental exams and cleanings, you can protect your teeth from common, but potentially serious dental issues like decay and gum disease. If you are overdue for your next cleaning and exam, then it’s time to call your dentist and make an appointment.
Regular cleanings and exams from your dentist can certainly help prevent cavities and other dental issues from wreaking havoc on your mouth, but practicing proper oral hygiene at home is also extremely important as well. Brushing and flossing your teeth everyday will help keep your teeth clean and free from the buildup of plaque and tartar. It will also keep your gums healthy. Don’t wait until a dental problem arises, prevent it from happening in the first place! Take good care of your teeth.