When a hole develops in your tooth, it is referred to as a cavity or tooth decay. Cavities start small and gradually develop bigger when they’re left untreated. The presence of a cavity may go unnoticed for some time due to the fact that many cavities do not initially cause any discomfort. Tooth decay can be detected early with routine dental visits.
As per the Mayo Clinic, cavities and tooth decay are among the most frequent health problems in the world. Cavities can affect anyone, including babies, who have teeth.
It may come as a shock to learn that you have a cavity. This is especially true if you consider your dental hygiene regimen to be excellent. There are ways of treating a cavity and keep it from coming back even if your dentist tells you that you have them.
Symptoms of tooth cavities
The symptoms of a cavity vary depending on the severity of the decay. They include:
- visible hole in your teeth
- tooth sensitivity
- black or white staining on your teeth
- tooth pain
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Causes of tooth cavities
Tooth cavities are formed by plaque, a sticky material that clings to teeth. Plaque is a combination of:
Everyone has microorganisms in their mouth. Bacteria in your mouth convert sugar to acid after you consume sugar-containing meals or beverages. Plaque starts growing on your teeth immediately after eating or drinking anything sweet. So, brushing on a regular basis is critical.
Plaque attaches to your teeth, and the acid in plaque can progressively damage tooth enamel. Enamel is a strong, protective layer on your teeth that protects against tooth decay. Tooth decay becomes more likely as the enamel on your teeth becomes thinner.
Cavities can affect everybody, although some people are more susceptible than others. Risk factors include:
- overindulgence in sweets and acidic beverages
- a poor oral hygiene regimen, such as failing to brush or floss daily
- not obtaining enough fluoride
- acid reflux illness, which can result in stomach acid wearing away your tooth enamel
- dry mouth
- eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia
Cavities develop more likely in the back teeth, as per the Mayo Clinic. These teeth have grooves and holes that can capture food particles. Also, these teeth are sometimes tougher to reach when cleaning and flossing.
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Preventing and treating tooth decay
Symptoms such as tooth sensitivity or pain should be brought up with your doctor. Your dentist can diagnose tooth decay after an oral checkup. However, some cavities aren’t evident via an oral exam. So your dentist could also use a dental X-ray to look for deterioration.
The severity of the condition dictates the best course of action. There are various techniques to treat a cavity.
Fillings for teeth
The decaying material in a tooth is removed by a dentist with the aid of a drill. The silver, gold, or composite resin that your dentist uses to fill your tooth is next applied.
Your dentist may recommend a custom-fit cap to cover a severely decayed tooth instead of the natural crown. Before beginning this operation, your dentist will remove decaying tooth material.
A root canal
When tooth decay results in death of your nerves, your dentist will conduct a root canal to preserve your tooth. They take out your tooth’s nerves, blood vessels, and any decay. Your dentist then examines for infections and provides medicine to the roots as needed. Finally, the tooth is filled and, in some cases, a crown is placed on top of it.
Treatment in the earliest possible stage
A fluoride treatment may be able to rebuild your tooth enamel and prevent future decay if your dentist finds a cavity early.
How to cope with suffering
Pain and discomfort can come from cavities and tooth decay, which can cause a lot of pain. Waiting for your dentist appointment may necessitate finding strategies to relieve your discomfort. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several temporary measures you can take to alleviate discomfort:
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- Brush and clean every part of your mouth, including any sensitive regions.
- Attempt pain medications available over the counter (OTC).
- Keep up with your oral hygiene habits.
- Consult your doctor to see if you’re allowed to take over-the-counter anaesthetics.
- Keep an eye on what you put into your body.
- When eating or drinking, avoid overly hot or cold meals.
- Dental caries-related complications
Not addressing an unattended tooth decay might lead to a range of problems. These include:
- A tooth abscess can get infected and lead to serious health consequences.
- sepsis or other life-threatening consequences caused by an infection that has spread to the blood
- the formation of pus surrounding the diseased tooth\san greater risk for fracturing or chipping a tooth
- the formation of pus surrounding the diseased tooth\san greater risk for fracturing or chipping a tooth the act of gnawing on a meal
Your tooth might get hurt when you put off going to the dentist. This can’t be fixed, so you should see a dentist soon.
The only method to treat the cavity at this point is for your dentist to extract the tooth and substitute it with an implant or bridge.
Preventing tooth cavities
Tooth cavities are a frequent dental problem, however you can lower your risk by performing the following:
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day.
- Floss at least once everyday, as suggested by the American Dental Association.
- Eat fewer sugary and acidic meals, like sweets, candies, juice, soda, and refined carbs.
- Eat only one or two little snacks a day.
- Consider getting dental sealants on your teeth.
Tooth decay can be prevented by eating the following foods:
- fiber-rich foods and vegetables
- foods high in calcium
- xylitol sugarless chewing gum
- unsweetened black or green tea
- water with fluoride
Also, don’t forget to visit your dentist at least twice each year for regular dental cleanings. This gives your dentist the opportunity to treat any issues they uncover, and it also helps avoid further dental issues.