|What are Cavities and Tooth Decay?
When the enamel of your teeth becomes permanently damaged, cavities can develop, which in turn form small holes on the tooth’s surface. Also known as tooth decay, cavities result from bacteria, constantly snacking and consuming sugary beverages, and not brushing your teeth properly, among other things. Tooth decay is not of the most prevalent health problems in the world. This condition mostly appears in kids, teens, and older adults, but it can affect anyone with teeth, including infants.
Left untreated, cavities can grow in size and infect lower parts of the tooth. They can also cause infection, toothaches, and even tooth loss via tooth extraction. However, if you brush and floss twice a day and come in for regular check-ups, you can fight effectively against tooth decay and cavities.
Cavities have several complications, such as chewing problems, pain, pus or swelling surrounding a tooth, broken teeth, and shifting of teeth following tooth loss.
When tooth decay reaches a severe stage, you can experience further problems. If you have difficulty chewing and eating, that can lead to nutritional problems or weight loss. The pain can also get to such a level that it interferes with your day-to-day activities. You can also suffer tooth loss, which negatively affects your appearance and self-esteem. In extreme cases, bacterial infection can form a pocket of pus called a tooth abscess. This abscess can cause even more serious infections.
It’s much better to stop dental problems early on and keep them from spreading rather than let such complications go unchecked and have to do costly and extensive treatment down the road. We strongly encourage a proactive approach to cavity prevention. By brushing and flossing daily and limiting your sugar intake, you can offset tooth decay.
Dental Examinations and Cleanings
However, in addition to personal care, we also recommend that you visit our office twice a year for dental examination and professional cleaning. This cleaning will remove minor stains caused by coffee, tea, wine, and tobacco. During the dental exam, we will evaluate your overall dental health, identify tooth decay and gum disease, determine if you need any restorative treatment, take x-rays, teach proper dental health techniques, and so on.
We offer fillings as a great option to prevent the spread of tooth decay, but they cannot replace cavity prevention. Preventative care will stop dental health issues from developing into further complications that are far more painful and expensive, which may require tooth extraction. Avoid this with annual or biannual check-ups and daily care.
If you have any concerns about your oral health, please let us know during the examination. We may ask about other health problems you might have or medications you’re using that could affect your oral health. For instance, studies have shown that cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and diabetes are tied to gum disease. The professional cleaning will remove tartar, plaque, and stains from your teeth that you could not do on your own.
In addition to keeping your teeth clean, good oral habits will give you pink, healthy gums and ward off gum disease. Plaque contains bacteria that cause irritation, inflammation, and gum disease. Bad breath also often indicates gum disease or food stuck in teeth. However, if you brush and floss daily and come in for regular cleanings, you can obtain fresh breath and the confidence of a beautiful smile.
For more information, please contact our office at (206)284-4505.