Two dental conditions that can negatively impact the health and function of your smile are periodontal disease and tooth decay. Tooth decay results in the loss of natural tooth enamel and is irreversible. However, it can be treated with dental cavity fillings. Let’s take a closer look at the causes of cavities, what can happen if they are left untreated, and what we can do about restoring the smile’s function and health with dental solutions.
Our team at Z Dentistry in Reno, Nevada, describes a cavity as a hole in the surface of your tooth caused by tooth decay. Cavities happen when bacteria eat away at the protective enamel layer of your teeth, allowing acid and other substances to wear away the underlying layers.
Cavities are caused by oral bacteria that live on the surfaces of teeth and produce acids as they feed off sugar and starch particles from food. These acids weaken and erode the enamel on your teeth, eventually creating a cavity. Poor oral hygiene habits, like not brushing or flossing regularly, can also contribute to cavities.
The best way to detect cavities is through regular dental checkups. Your dental team may be able to detect signs of tooth decay or cavities during an examination and may also advise X-rays to investigate further. Other symptoms of cavities include:
The best way to prevent the unwanted formation of cavities is by practicing proper oral hygiene habits. These include:
Our team may also recommend various products on the market that contain ingredients specifically designed to help protect against cavities. This includes mouthwash and toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride can help strengthen the teeth to reduce their risk of developing tooth decay.
Depending on the severity of your cavity, we will most likely recommend a filling or a crown. Fillings repair minor cavities, while crowns are more suited for more severe cases. Other treatments may include germicidal mouthwashes, root canals, and dental sealants. In some cases, extraction may be necessary if the cavity has caused significant damage to the tooth. When you visit with your dentist, you can discuss what solution might be most appropriate for your unique situation.
If you believe you might have tooth decay, it is critical that you look for dentists “near me” that offer tooth fillings.