If you have a cavity, you might be holding out hope that it will heal naturally. But for the sake of your oral health, think again! Here, we’ll discuss what cavities are, what causes them, how they must be treated, and what you can do to help prevent them.
What Are Cavities?
Also known as caries, cavities are permanent tooth decay. Enamel is the hard outer shell of your teeth that protects the inner sensitive layers, like the nerves, blood vessels, and pulp, from bacteria. Tooth decay occurs and cavities form when this enamel is gradually weakened, damaged, and then destroyed.
What Damages Enamel?
Bad bacteria is found in plaque, the sticky biofilm that is constantly forming on the surface of your teeth. When you consume foods or drinks that are sugary, bacterial plaque feeds off the sugar of the particles left over in your mouth. As bacteria eat, they produce acids that dissolve and weaken your tooth enamel.
Can Tooth Decay Heal Naturally?
Early-stage tooth decay and soft spots in your enamel can be slowed, stopped, and even reversed through remineralization, but once the decay advances to a cavity, it must be treated by a dental professional. If you leave cavities alone, hoping that they’ll fix themselves, you’ll end up with much worse dental health issues as the decay spreads and causes more damage. Instead of only needing a simple filling, you may end up losing the tooth. So if our expert dental team recommends you get a cavity treated, do not delay!
How Are Cavities Treated?
Depending on the severity of the cavity, it may require a filling, root canal therapy, or a tooth extraction:
- For a filling, the decay is removed from the tooth and replaced with a material that will strengthen the tooth and restore its natural shape.
- If you have more extensive decay that has caused your inner tooth to become infected, you may need root canal therapy and a dental crown. During a root canal procedure, we will clean out the decayed and infected pulp and seal your tooth off to prevent further damage. Then, we will place a CEREC dental crown, a natural-looking tooth covering that is custom-made to fit over your existing tooth when it needs additionally strengthening beyond a filling.
- Finally, if your tooth is beyond repair, you’ll need to get it extracted.
How Can You Prevent Cavities?
To prevent cavities, be sure to practice superb oral health habits:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a soft-bristled manual or electric toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss your teeth every day.
- Eat a healthy diet low in sugar and high in nutritious foods.
- Drink plenty of fluoridated water.
- Get professional fluoride treatments as recommended by our Dental Studio 121 team.
- Avoid chewing sugary gum; instead, chew sugar-free gum for at least 20 minutes after eating.
Schedule Your Biannual Checkup!
Another vital part of preventing tooth decay is coming in for regular checkups and cleanings here at our Plano dental office. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment at Dental Studio 121.Contact Us