The Importance of Detecting and Correcting Cavities

No one wants to hear he or she has a cavity during a routine visit to the dentist. However, detecting and correcting cavities early on can save your teeth from pain, infection, and more decay. This is why regular dental visits are so important. Of course, you can look for signs and symptoms of tooth decay and cavities at home, but you do need to turn to a professional dentist to correctly diagnose and fill the cavity to prevent further tooth deterioration. We at West Meade Dental would like to tell you more about cavities so you can understand the importance of finding and treating cavities.

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WHAT CAUSES CAVITIES?

Cavities begin their lives as tooth decay. According to WebMD, tooth decay is caused by sugary and starchy food residue remaining on the teeth after you eat. Common food culprits include: soda, fruits, cake, candy, cereals, and even breads and milk. If you don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating these kinds of carbohydrates, your likelihood of developing tooth decay goes up greatly, which leads to plaque. Plaque causes the holes in your teeth, otherwise known as cavities.

ARE YOU SAFE FROM CAVITIES AS AN ADULT?

Of course not! Anyone who eats sugary and starchy foods on a regular basis is at risk for developing a cavity, no matter his or her age. Older adults can even develop cavities around old fillings, due to the lack of technology present when they received their fillings.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A CAVITY?

If you experience soreness in a tooth, especially after eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold, or if you notice a hole or discoloration on a tooth, you may have a cavity. However, in the early stages of a cavity, there usually are not any signs or symptoms at all. A reason why you should never miss a regular dental exam, only your dentist can conclusively diagnose a cavity. Your dentist will check each tooth by probing for soft tissue, a sure sign of a cavity. X-rays give the best diagnosis of a cavity as they show cavities not visible to the eye, which means they have been found in the early stages.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO FIND CAVITIES EARLY?

If left untreated, a cavity will go on to cause pain and further damage to the tooth. You may even have to undergo a root canal to treat a painful, untreated cavity. Early detection of cavities helps to better preserve your teeth.

HOW ARE CAVITIES TREATED?

The cavity treatment depends on the extent of the damage to your tooth, which is another reason early cavity detection is essential for good oral health. If caught early enough so there is not extensive damage to the tooth, the dentist removes the decayed part of the tooth by drilling it away and then replaces the area with a filling. Fillings today are made with safe materials such as gold, porcelain, silver alloy, and composite resin. If your tooth has suffered more damage, you may need a crown, along with a root canal if the decay has caused the pulp or nerve of the tooth to die. New developments are occurring in cavity treatment everyday. Further stressing the importance of detecting cavities early, tooth decay can even now be stopped or reversed if the cavity is found soon enough.

Do you have any questions about the early detection and correction of cavities? Contact West Meade Dental to get those questions answered as well as to schedule your next dental visit.

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