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I Think I Have A Cavity – Now What?

I think I have a cavity now what - Fairview Dentist

Do you have a toothache? Are you feeling discomfort when you eat or drink something cold or hot? Or, did you just visit your Fairview dentist and was told that you have a cavity? No matter how you discovered the cavity news, cavities are some of the most common oral health concerns. Cavities affect people of all ages, so even if you avoided getting cavities as a child, you could still get a cavity as an adult.  Approximately 9 out of 10 Americans will experience a cavity or other dental disease at least once in their lives.

Read more to see the causes of cavities, and what you can do to prevent and fix them.   At Sloan Creek Dental, we are dedicated to your dental health where we provide exceptional care that spans all ages and needs. Our entire philosophy is rooted in improving healthier lifestyles, reducing oral diseases, and giving patients more smiles. We want you to smile again!  See below on some of the causes of why you might get a cavity.

What is a cavity?

We all know about cavities, but what are they? Cavities are essentially holes in your teeth that can be caused by acid. This acid is created through the bacteria that are found in your mouth. When the acid is left on your teeth, it attacks the outer surface of our teeth and over time; the acid wears down the teeth, causing a cavity.  

For older adults, they are at greater risk of developing tooth-root decay. As our gums recede, the roots of the teeth are at risk of exposure to plaque. Which means it is possible for adults to get cavities too.

When cavities are left untreated, cavities can turn into infections which can cause more problems such as infecting other teeth nearby, gum disease, gingivitis, and other oral issues.  Cavities should not be ignored as they will never just heal on its own, and the pain will continue to get worse.  There are other issues that can happen as well if cavities are left alone.

  • Cavities are a lot like cancer for your teeth. If left untreated, they will get worse over time until it destroys the whole tooth.
  • If the decay reaches the tooth root. it may cause your tooth to be severely damaged. Once a cavity has extended to the root, a root canal will most likely be needed to prevent further damage. If the cavity in your tooth is too large, or you have several cavities, your whole tooth might need removal.
  • Cavities are already painful. If they become infected, it will only make the pain worse. Not only that, but the infection may spread to other parts of your body and make you sick. 

 

What can you do to prevent a cavity

There are many ways you can prevent a cavity from forming.  Here are some of the best ways to protect yourself against cavities and more serious tooth decay issues.

  • See your dentist every 6 months for preventative dental care measures like routine cleanings, examinations, and professional dental cleanings help you maintain a beautiful smile.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Establish a daily flossing habit.  Flossing removes plaque, bacteria, and food particles that can lead to decay. Flossing daily will also prevent bad breath and gum disease.
  • Many dentists recommend drinking water throughout the day to help rinse your teeth and boost saliva flow. Having a dry mouth may increase your risk of cavities.
  • Sugary foods, sodas, and juices can cause tooth decay as the bacteria found in the mouth feeds off of the sugar.

What Happens Next if I have a Cavity?

If you’ve never had a cavity before, the procedure for the dentist to fix the issue is straightforward and can be performed in one short visit. During your visit, your Fairview dentist will numb your tooth and the neighboring areas with a local anesthetic so you don’t feel the procedure. Your dentist will take extra precautions to by isolating the tooth and keeping it dry during the procedure to reduce the risk of infection. Finally, any decayed part of your tooth will be removed using surgical tools and once the plaque is removed from the area, the dentist will clean the tooth so it is peppered for the filling.  

Once your dentist have prepped the tooth, the filling material will be applied and a curing light will be used so that the filling material will bond with your teeth.  The dentist will then make sure your new filling isn’t affecting your alignment and bite.  When everything looks good as new, the dentist will then polish the filling until it is smooth enough to match the surface of your other teeth.

Why You Should Have Sealant Applied

One way to protect your smile is with sealants. They are a thin layer of tooth-colored resin that goes over the smooth surface of your teeth that helps strengthen tooth enamel. Getting sealants applied is a quick, easy, and makes a big difference that can help prevent tooth decay for up to ten years with proper dental oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing.

What are the symptoms of a cavity?

If you suspect that you have a cavity, you’re probably experiencing some of these symptoms.

  • Sensitivity / Pain – If you have any pain in your teeth or you feel sensitive when you eat any foods, then you, most likely, have a cavity.  Even if you have little or no pain, it’s still important to get them checked out.
  • White Spots – The presence of white spots on your teeth is a sign of tooth decay which can lead to cavities. The best way to keep your teeth strong is by brushing them twice a day with fluoride and flossing regularly. Flossing prevents small particles from building up and harming your pearly whites in the long-run.
  • Brown Spots – Light or brown spots on your teeth are a sign of tooth decay and cavities. They can also be referred to as dental caries. These spots are an advanced stage of the early stages of tooth decay and are typically found on front teeth or tops of molars.. If not treated in time, you will risk losing your tooth.
  • Dark spots on your X-Rays – Regular X-ray appointments (roughly once a year) help your dentist get a better understanding of the health of your teeth. While X-rays have many uses for diagnosis and treatment of dental issues, one of the primary purposes of getting them regularly is to give your dentist an opportunity to check for cavities between your teeth and other problems below the surface.  If a cavity is found, it shows up as a dark spot on the x-ray.

Takeaway

Cavities are a common dental problem that affect adults and children alike. They start off as small fillings, but left untreated they can cause tooth decay and other serious problems if left to swell. As soon as you notice tooth sensitivity, pain, discomfort or holes in your teeth, call your Fairview Dentist as soon as possible to have it get checked out, and avoid invasive treatments.