Almost everyone has had a cavity at one time or another. According to the CDC, 52 percent of children aged 6 to 8 years have had a cavity in their baby teeth and more than 90 percent of adults aged 20 and older have had one or more cavities.
If you have recently been diagnosed with a cavity, don’t worry. Depending on the size and location of the cavity, your dentist may recommend a number of treatments designed to remove the damaged areas and restore the tooth’s appearance and function.
What are Cavities and What Causes Decay?
Cavities are a result of tooth decay damage. Tooth decay can destroy a tooth’s outer coating (enamel), as well as the inner portion (dentin). Dental cavities develop when acids produced in the mouth begin to erode the enamel.
When a cavity develops, you may not have any symptoms at first. However, as the decay spreads, it’s common to experience symptoms like pain and sensitivity. You may develop pits or holes in your teeth, as well as white, black, or brown staining.
There are many factors that contribute to the development of cavities. What you eat plays a key role in the creation of tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth feed on starchy and sugary foods and drinks. These bacteria then convert carbohydrates into harmful acids that mix with food and saliva to form plaque.
Poor nutrition, coupled with inadequate brushing and flossing habits, can cause plaque to sit on the teeth, dissolving tooth enamel. Over time, holes or cavities can start to develop in the teeth.
How are Your Cavities Diagnosed and Treated?
Diagnosing a cavity starts with a thorough dental checkup to examine your teeth and assess your symptoms. If we suspect a cavity, we may perform an x-ray to confirm our suspicions.
On an x-ray, tooth material and dense bone appear white, while empty spaces and soft tissue appear dark. Cavities generally appear as areas that are darker than tooth enamel.
Treatment for a cavity will depend on its size, location, and the overall condition of the tooth. Most cavities can be treated with a routine filling. During a filling, the decayed portion of tissue is removed and the empty space is filled with a filling material, such as tooth-colored composite.
Larger cavities may require a crown to restore the tooth. Crowns are usually recommended when a cavity is so large that there is not sufficient healthy tooth material left to support a filling. Crowns can be made from a variety of materials, such as porcelain or gold.
Contact Vero Elite Dentistry for an Appointment
While teeth cavities are not usually life threatening, they do require prompt oral treatment to prevent the tooth decay from spreading.
If you are concerned about a cavity or want to get started with your treatment, contact Vero Elite Dentistry online or by call 772.617.2869.