Last updated date: 04-Mar-2023
Originally Written in English
A cavity, also known as tooth decay, is a hole in your tooth. Cavities begin tiny and get larger over time if left untreated. Because many cavities do not produce discomfort at first, it might be difficult to recognize when an issue exists. Regular dentist visits might help detect tooth decay early.
What is Cavity treatment?
Cavities, commonly known as tooth decay or dental caries, are always treated with an appropriate diagnosis. Because the permanently damaged enamel associated with dental decay may not be evident to the human eye, particularly in the early stages, diagnosis requires an expert eye and modern instruments. When our dental staff discovers a cavity, we develop a customized treatment plan to remove the damaged enamel and support the tooth. A correct diagnosis and quick treatment of dental decay are critical for a positive outcome. A cavity, if left untreated, can progress to a tooth abscess, which is an infection inside the tooth. A tooth abscess is far more painful and necessitates more thorough treatment; you may possibly lose the tooth.
Cavities are permanently damaged portions of your teeth's hard surface that evolve into small gaps or holes. Cavities, also known as tooth decay or caries, are caused by a number of reasons, including germs in your mouth, frequent eating, drinking sugary drinks, and failing to properly clean your teeth. Cavities and tooth decay are among the most frequent health issues in the globe. They are most prevalent among children, teens, and the elderly. Cavities, however, may affect anybody who has teeth, even newborns. Cavities become bigger and harm deeper layers of your teeth if they are not addressed. They can cause severe dental pain, infection, and tooth loss. Your best defense against cavities and tooth decay is regular dental appointments and proper brushing and flossing routines. Damage to a tooth's surface, or enamel, is referred to as decay. It occurs when bacteria in your mouth produce acids that destroy your tooth enamel. Cavities (dental caries) are holes in your teeth caused by tooth decay. If untreated, dental decay can lead to discomfort, infection, and even tooth loss.
What causes tooth cavities?
Bacteria abound in our mouths. Some bacteria are beneficial. Some, however, can be dangerous, such as those that contribute to tooth decay. These bacteria interact with food to generate plaque, a soft, sticky coating. Plaque bacteria produce acids from the sugar and starch in your food and drink. The acids begin to dissolve the minerals in your enamel. The plaque might solidify into tartar over time. Plaque and tartar, in addition to harming your teeth, can irritate your gums and cause gum disease. Fluoride can be obtained via toothpaste, water, and other sources. This fluoride, together with your saliva, aids in the restoration of the enamel by replenishing minerals. All day long, your teeth go through this normal process of losing and recovering minerals. However, if you don't take care of your teeth and consume a lot of sugary or starchy foods, your enamel will continue to lose minerals. This causes tooth rotting. Where minerals have been lost, a white patch may form. This is a precursor to tooth decay. At this stage, you may be able to halt or reverse the degradation. If you take better care of your teeth and avoid sugary meals and drinks, your enamel can still rebuild itself. However, as the deterioration process proceeds, more minerals are lost. The enamel deteriorates and is eroded with time, resulting in the formation of a cavity. A cavity is a hole in the enamel of your tooth. A dentist must use a filling to fix irreparable damage.
Here's how tooth cavity happens:
- Plaque forms: Dental plaque is a sticky, transparent film that covers your teeth. It's caused by consuming a lot of carbohydrates and carbs and not properly cleaning your teeth. When sugars and starches are not removed from your teeth, bacteria feed on them and develop plaque.
- Plaque attacks Plaque assaults Plaque acids dissolve minerals in the hard, outer enamel of your teeth. This erosion creates microscopic gaps or holes in the enamel, which is the initial stage of cavity formation. When parts of enamel are worn away, germs and acid can access the dentin layer of your teeth.
- The destruction continues. As tooth decay progresses, bacteria and acid continue to move through your teeth, close to the inner tooth structure (pulp), which includes nerves and blood vessels. Bacteria cause the pulp to swell and become irritating.
Who is at risk for tooth cavities?
Cavities can affect everyone who has teeth; however, the following variables can raise the risk:
- Location of the teeth: Back teeth are the most prone to decay (molars and premolars). These teeth feature several grooves, pits, and nooks, as well as numerous roots that can trap food particles. As a result, they are more difficult to clean than your smoother, easier-to-reach front teeth.
- Certain meals and beverages. Milk, ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, dried fruit, cake, cookies, hard candy and mints, dry cereal, and chips are all more prone to promote tooth decay than items that are quickly rinsed away by saliva.
- Snacking or drinking often. When you consistently eat or consume sugary drinks, you offer oral bacteria more fuel to generate acids that attack and wear down your teeth. Drinking soda or other acidic drinks throughout the day contributes to a constant acid wash on your teeth.
- Infant feeding before bedtime When newborns are given milk, formula, juice, or other sugary drinks in their bedtime bottles, these beverages linger on their teeth for hours while they sleep, feeding decay-causing germs. This is sometimes referred to as baby bottle teeth decay. When children drink from a sippy cup loaded with these beverages, the same harm can occur.
- Brushing is insufficient. Plaque builds fast after eating and drinking, and the initial stages of decay might occur if you do not clean your teeth immediately after eating and drinking.
- Inadequate fluoride intake. Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, aids in cavity prevention and can even reverse the early stages of tooth decay. Fluoride is added to many public water systems because of its dental advantages. It's also a popular component of toothpaste and mouthwash. However, fluoride is seldom found in bottled water.
- Age, whether young or old. Cavities are frequent in very young toddlers and teens in the United States. Senior citizens are also more vulnerable. Teeth might wear down and gums can recede with time, rendering teeth more prone to root rot. In addition, older persons are more likely to use drugs that restrict saliva flow, increasing the risk of tooth decay.
- The mouth is parched. A lack of saliva causes dry mouth, which helps prevent tooth decay by wiping away food and plaque from your teeth. Salivary substances also serve to neutralize the acid generated by bacteria. Certain medicines, medical disorders, radiation to the head or neck, and chemotherapy therapies can all raise your risk of cavities by decreasing saliva production.
- Worn fillings or dental appliances Dental fillings can deteriorate, break down, or acquire jagged edges over time. This facilitates plaque formation and makes removal more difficult. Dental devices can become loose, enabling rot to develop beneath them.
- Heartburn. Heartburn, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), causes stomach acid to flow into your mouth (reflux), eroding the enamel and causing substantial tooth damage. This exposes more dentin to bacterial assault, resulting in tooth decay. Your dentist may advise you to contact a doctor to determine whether stomach reflux is the source of your enamel loss.
- Eating problems. Anorexia and bulimia can cause severe tooth erosion and cavities. Stomach acid washes over the teeth and begins to dissolve the enamel as a result of recurrent vomiting (purging). Eating problems can also impair saliva production.
What are the symptoms of tooth cavities?
Cavity signs and symptoms differ based on the degree and location of the cavity. When a cavity is just getting started, you may not notice any symptoms at all. As the deterioration progresses,
it may produce signs and symptoms such as:
- Toothache, spontaneous pain, or pain that appears for no apparent reason
- Sensitivity of the teeth
- Pain ranging from mild to severe while eating or drinking something sweet, spicy or cold.
- Visible pits or holes in your teeth
- Stains on any surface of a tooth that are brown, black, or white
- When you bite down, you feel pain.
- An infection that can result in the formation of an abscess (pocket of pus). The abscess can cause discomfort, swelling of the face, and fever.
What are the complications of tooth cavities?
Cavities and dental decay are so frequent that you may overlook them. And you may believe that it is unimportant if youngsters develop cavities in their infant teeth. Cavities and dental decay, on the other hand, can have catastrophic and long-term consequences, even in youngsters who do not yet have their permanent teeth.
Cavity complications may include:
- Abscess of a tooth
- Pus or swelling around a tooth
- Teeth that are damaged or fractured
- Chewing issues
- Teeth position alters following tooth loss
When cavities and decay are severe, you may experience
- Daily existence is hampered by pain.
- Weight loss or nutritional issues caused by painful or difficult eating or chewing
- Tooth loss may have an impact on your look as well as your confidence and self-esteem.
- In rare situations, a tooth abscess — a pus-filled pocket caused by bacterial infection — can develop, leading to more serious or even life-threatening illnesses.
Can tooth cavities be prevented?
Cavities and tooth decay can be avoided with good oral and dental care. Here are some pointers to help you avoid cavities. Inquire with your dentist about the finest tips for you.
- After eating or drinking, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably after each meal, with fluoride toothpaste. Floss or use an interdental cleaner to clean between your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with water. If your dentist believes you are at high risk of getting cavities, he or she may advise you to use a fluoride-containing mouth rinse.
- Regularly see your dentist. Get expert dental cleanings and frequent oral examinations to help avoid or detect issues. Your dentist can advise you on the optimal timetable for you.
- Think about dental sealants. A sealant is a plastic covering that is put to the chewing surface of back teeth to protect them. It closes off food-collecting grooves and nooks, protecting tooth enamel from plaque and acid. Sealants are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for all school-age children. Sealants can survive for several years before needing to be renewed, but they must be examined on a regular basis.
- Consume some tap water. Fluoride is provided to most public water systems, which can greatly prevent tooth decay. You will miss out on fluoride advantages if you just consume bottled water that does not contain fluoride.
- Avoid eating and drinking often. When you consume liquids other than water, you aid your oral bacteria in producing acids that can erode dental enamel. Your teeth are always under attack if you snack or drink throughout the day.
- Consume tooth-friendly meals. Some meals and beverages are more beneficial to your teeth than others. Avoid foods that become trapped in the grooves and pits of your teeth for lengthy periods of time, or clean your teeth immediately after eating them. Fresh fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, improve saliva flow, while unsweetened coffee, tea, and sugar-free gum help wash away meal particles.
- Think about fluoride treatments. Periodic fluoride treatments may be recommended by your dentist, especially if you aren't getting enough fluoride through fluoridated drinking water and other sources. If your risk of tooth decay is really high, he or she may additionally propose special trays that fit over your teeth for the application of prescription fluoride.
- Inquire about antimicrobial medications. If you have a medical condition that makes you more susceptible to tooth decay, your dentist may suggest antibacterial mouth rinses or other treatments to help reduce dangerous germs in your mouth.
- Combination therapies Cavities can be reduced by chewing xylitol-based gum, as well as using prescription fluoride and an antibacterial rinse.
How are tooth Cavities diagnosed?
Diagnosing tooth decay is a simple process that our dentists can complete in a single session; we frequently uncover cavities during regular dental examinations, and in many cases, we find indicators of tooth decay before patients ever notice symptoms. To diagnose tooth decay, we evaluate your symptoms, check your teeth, and, if a cavity is suspected, take an x-ray. We develop a treatment plan based on the facts gathered during our diagnosis. Your dentist will carefully inspect your teeth, looking for symptoms of dental decay such as discoloration, damage to the enamel that covers your teeth, or holes in your teeth. Our dentists will check for evidence of the three types of cavities during your examination: smooth surface, pit and fissure, and deep cavity. Each has an effect on a distinct part of the tooth. Smooth cavities form on the smooth surfaces of your teeth, whereas root cavities form on the surface of the tooth over your teeth's roots. Pit and fissure cavities form on your teeth's chewing surfaces. X-rays are a sort of imaging that dentists use to view inside their patients' teeth. Dense bone and tooth material show white on x-ray pictures, whereas soft tissue and empty gaps appear black. Healthy teeth appear white on dental x-rays. Because the nerve inside the pulp is completely made of soft tissue, it is black in color. Cavities show as black spots on the tooth enamel. Our dentists utilize x-rays to diagnose cavities and estimate the extent of deterioration.
What are the options for treating tooth cavities?
Tooth decay and cavities can be treated in a variety of ways. The therapy you receive is determined on the severity of the problem:
- Treatments using fluoride. A fluoride treatment might help the enamel heal itself if you have early tooth decay.
- Fillings: If you have a normal cavity, your dentist will remove the rotted tooth tissue before filling the cavity with a filling substance. A dentist removes decaying material from a tooth using a drill. After that, your dentist will fill your tooth with a material such as silver, gold, or composite resin.
- Root canal treatment. If the tooth is damaged or an infection develops to the pulp (inside the tooth), you may require a root canal. Your dentist will clean within the tooth and root and remove the decaying pulp. The tooth will then be filled with a temporary filling. Then you'll need to return for a permanent filling or a crown (a cover on the tooth).
- Extraction (drawing the tooth) (pulling the tooth). In the most extreme situations, when the pulp damage cannot be repaired, your dentist may recommend removing the tooth. To replace the lost tooth, your dentist will recommend a bridge or implant. Otherwise, the teeth adjacent to the gap may shift and alter your bite.
- Crown: If your tooth has extensive deterioration, your dentist may install a custom-fit cap over it to replace the natural crown. Before beginning this process, your dentist will remove decaying tooth material.
A cavity is a hole in a tooth caused by dental decay. Cavities arise when acids in the mouth wear down or erode, the hard outer covering of a tooth (enamel). A cavity can happen to anyone. Cavities may be avoided with proper brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings (sometimes called dental caries). Regular dental examinations and proper oral hygiene are essential for cavity prevention. Newer dental treatments, such as dental sealants and fluoride rinses, have reduced the risk of cavities in children and adolescents. Adults with childhood dental fillings may develop cavities around the borders of the previous fillings. Cavities in roots revealed by receding gums may also occur in the elderly.