Getting To The Bottom Of Cavities. Some Answers.
Cavities are a real pain, and more than 90% of adults have had a cavity at least once in their lifetime. As a matter of fact, around 27% of adults have untreated cavities right now, and these cavities could be leading to much more than simple oral discomfort. A cavity is a permanently damaged area to the surface of the tooth, and it must undergo professional repair in order to save the tooth’s structure. If left untreated, a cavity will only grow worse, leading to further decay, tooth loss, and the need for more intensive treatment.
If you’re unsure if you have cavities that require treatment, there are a number of symptoms that you can look out for. Some of these are more obvious than others, but the more obvious the symptoms are, the more likely you’ll need to face more immediate and intensive treatment. A toothache is the most common sign of a cavity, and it may come on spontaneously with no known cause. The toothache could be triggered by ingesting hot or cold foods and beverages, or it could start for seemingly no reason at all. As a cavity grows larger, you may notice a visible or feelable pit or hole in your tooth. When this occurs, you should seek dental treatment right away.
What Causes Cavities?
The best way to avoid cavities is to know just what causes them, and how you can change your lifestyle to combat the formation of cavities in the first place. The process that causes tooth decay is comprised of these 3 steps:
- The formation of plaque – If you’ve ever felt like your teeth are wearing a “wooly sweater”, what you’re really feeling is plaque. Plaque is a clear and sticky film that covers the surface of the tooth, and it’s caused by eating sugary or starchy foods and not cleaning your teeth well after these materials come into contact with them. Plaque is typically removed via brushing, but one must brush thoroughly to combat it.
- The plaque does its damage – Plaque is acidic, and these acids do their damage to the hard enamel of the tooth’s surface. Once the plaque has worn away, bacteria can then begin to attack the softer dentin layer of the tooth.
- Further tooth destruction – The enamel layer is the hardest and sturdiest layer of the tooth, and once it’s gone, acids and bacteria can make easy work of the rest of the tooth’s structure. After eating through dentin, the bacteria and acids will work their way to the pulp, causing the need for root canal or full tooth extraction.
Better Care For Fewer Cavities
The single best way to combat cavities is with regular visits to your dentist. They can determine how at risk your teeth are, and repair any current issues you may be experiencing with your teeth. If you suspect you have cavities that require repair, or you’d like to learn more about preventing future cavities, contact us at West LA Dentistry today.