Cavities and Tooth Decay

Cavities and tooth decay are common dental issues but can grow to become a serious problem. When cavities and tooth decay are left untreated for a long period, they usually result in tooth loss. Cavities and tooth decay can also result in more serious problems such as an infection of the jawbone, and consequently jawbone loss. At The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we offer a range of dental solutions to treat cavities and tooth decay.

The Difference Between Cavities and Tooth Decay

To most people, tooth decay and cavities are the same things. However, this is not the case. Tooth decay is a progressive dental disease that occurs when the enamel, the outer surface of the teeth, starts to dissolve (decay). Dental cavities, on the other hand, are tiny holes that develop in the damaged areas of the teeth, due to tooth decay. Therefore, dental cavities are like a symptom of tooth decay – but they signify a progressed level of decay.

What Causes Cavities and Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay and cavities are caused by the destruction of the enamel. However, what causes the enamel to decay? The problem starts with the bacteria found inside your mouth. These bacteria are found in the plaque, a sticky substance that forms in the mouth after you eat.

When you fail to brush your teeth regularly, the plaque, and consequently the oral bacteria, stick on to your teeth and gums. Here, they interact with the sugars contained in the food and drinks you consume, producing acids. These acids corrode the enamel, weakening it until the oral bacteria can get past through it and infect the inter (and soft) structure of the teeth. The infection (tooth decay) damages areas of the teeth, causing tiny holes – the dental cavities.

Signs of Cavities and Tooth Decay

Tooth decay and the formation of dental cavities is a gradual process. As a result, there are some signs and symptoms of these dental problems, which can help you identify them before they become too serious. Common signs include:

  • Pain in the affected tooth/teeth that becomes more frequent and intense as the decay progresses.
  • Increased sensitivity of the affected teeth when pressure is applied, or when the teeth are exposed to cold or hot food and drinks.
  • Pits – tiny, unnoticeable holes that become noticeable (cavities) as decay.
  • Formation of pus around the affected teeth.

How to Treat Cavities and Tooth Decay

There are various treatment options for cavities and tooth decay – which depend on the severity of the problem. Tooth decay that is just starting to form can be treated by using fluoride treatments, which are applied to the teeth to restore the enamel.

When the decay has progressed slightly, and cavities have formed, the dental filling is used. During this procedure, the decaying portion of the tooth is removed and replaced with a filling made of materials such as composite resin and porcelain.

There are also other ways on how to treat tooth decay, especially when it has progressed extensively. These treatment options include dental onlays, dental crowns and possibly root canal therapy. Unfortunately, if the decay is too severe and the tooth cannot be saved, extraction is performed. However, even then, other dental solutions such as dental bridges and dental implants are available.

Cavities and tooth decay are dental problems that you should not take lightly, as they can result in you losing your teeth. If you are suffering from these dental problems, call The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry at (631) 982-9669 to find out the solutions that are available for your situation.