Tooth decay is what causes cavities – or damage to your tooth. The inner layer (dentin), as well as the outer coating (enamel) of your tooth, can be affected by tooth decay. The dentists at Family Dentistry of Deerfield Beach share how to tell if you have cavities and what you can do to treat them below.
How is decay caused? When foods have carbohydrates in them like candy, cake, fruit, soda, milk, cereal, and bread stay on the teeth. They are turned into acids by the bacteria inside of your mouth. Your saliva, food debris, acid, and bacterial combine and form plaque, and that clings to your teeth. The enamel is dissolved by the acids contained in the plaque, which then creates cavities, which are holes in the tooth.
Who Gets Cavities?
Some people think children are the only ones who get cavities. However, as you age, changes inside your mouth can be an adult problem as well. As you grow older, your gums start pulling away from the teeth. Gum disease may also cause them to pull away. That exposes the tooth roots to plaque. If you consume lots of high-carb or sugary foods it is more likely that you will get cavities.
Sometimes older adults develop decay on the edges of their fillings. Often seniors need to have lots of dental work due to the fact that they didn’t receive good oral care or fluoride when they were children. The fillings, over the years, may break and weaken teeth. In the gaps, bacteria collects and can cause decay.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Cavity?
Cavities are found by your dentist are part of your regular dental checkup. The dentist will probe your teeth, searching for soft spots, or X-rays will be taken to check in between your teeth.
You may develop a toothache if you have had the cavity for some time, particularly after you drink or eat something cold, hot, or sweet. You might see holes or pits in your teeth at times.
How Are Cavities Treated?
Treatment will depend on how bad your cavity is. Usually, the decayed part of your tooth will be removed by the dentist using a drill. The hole will be filled with a filling that is made out of a composite resin, porcelain, gold, or a silver alloy. Those materials are all safe.
Some concerns have been raised about amalgams, which are mercury-based filling. However, public health agencies, the FDA, and the American Dental Association all have stated they are safe. It is rare to be allergic to fillings.
Whenever a tooth is severely decayed to the point that there isn’t much of it remaining, a crown is used. The damaged part is removed and repaired by your dentist. A crown made out of porcelain fused with metal, porcelain, or gold is then fitted over the rest of your tooth.
You may need to have a root canal done if the pulp or root of your tooth in injured or dead and cannot be repaired. The decayed parts of the tooth, along with the tissue, blood vessels, and nerve are removed by your dentist. Then the roots are filled in using a sealing material. A crown might need to be placed over your filled tooth.