The Development And Treatment Of Cavities
Cavities are one of the most common issues that affect smiles. Not only do they develop in 42 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 11, but cavities are also common in adults. Even though so many people have been affected by them, most people do not understand the development of cavities. With this guide, and your dentist's help, you will understand how cavities form and what treatment options are available to you.
The Development of Cavities
First and foremost, it is important to know that cavities are a form of tooth decay. This decay occurs after plaque forms and begins attacking the tooth enamel and pulp, so understanding the nature of plaque is helpful.
Over time, plaque forms from the buildup of food and bacteria on the teeth. Proper brushing and flossing will reduce the risk of plaque buildup.
Once the plaque forms, it can harden on the teeth, eventually eating holes in the enamel and interior pulp. These holes are known as cavities.
Food and bacteria can seep into the cavities, causing the decay to spread, creating larger cavities and more involved decay that can lead to tooth loss and gum disease.
In the early stages, you may not experience any pain or discomfort if you have a cavity. However, as the decay spreads, you will begin to feel tooth sensitivity and pain that can spread throughout the teeth and gum tissue. Without treatment, cavities can become very painful and infected.
The Treatment of Cavities
Since most people do not feel symptoms right away, routine dental exams can help diagnose and treat a cavity before it becomes painful or infected.
If you have a cavity, your dentist will recommend a filling first. During this treatment, the interior infected pulp is cleaned out of the tooth. Then an amalgam filling is placed into the hole and covered with a resin composite that matches the color of your teeth.
Severe cavities that are infected may require a more involved treatment from your dentist or oral surgeon, such as a root canal. This procedure removes a larger amount of infected pulp before filling the cavity hole. If you have an infection, antibiotics may also be prescribed.
It is important to note that prevention is your best weapon against cavities. Brushing and flossing will remove food and plaque from on, behind, and in between the teeth. In addition, routine exams and cleanings by your dentist will reduce the risk of decay and cavities.