Dental Health and Cavities

Teeth decay and corrode when we do not properly maintain our oral health. Physical signs of tooth decay are called cavities. Cavities are caused from excessive plaque build-up on our teeth. The plaque comes from the food and drink that we consume every day. It is the sticky film that is created when the sugars found in both our food and drinks mix with our saliva. The plaque then attaches to the teeth and starts to eat the sugars. A byproduct of this process is an acid that then wears away the tooth enamel, leading to micro holes, or cavities.

Cavities, once they have occurred, will usually become larger unless they are taken care of in a timely manner. You may suspect you have a cavity if you have a tooth ache or sensitivity in certain areas. Only your dentist can determine if you have a cavity for certain. The dentist will use x-rays and other instruments in order to examine the area in which a cavity is suspected. This is why it is essential that you regularly visit your dental professional for teeth cleanings and examinations.

If the dentist determines that you have a cavity, he will properly treat the cavity to preserve as much of the tooth structure as possible. Proper treatment will also prevent further decay. Treatment begins with the scraping and drilling out of the plaque from the tooth. Depending on the extensiveness of the cavity, Novocain may be used to numb the area near the sensitive section of the tooth so as not to cause pain to the patient. Once the plaque is removed, the tooth will be cleaned and polished. This is to ensure that the tooth is clean and to prepare the surface of the tooth for the filling. A filling is any polymer-based material used to cover and fill the hole that was created by the cavity. Typically, amalgam, gold, porcelain or resin will be used as fillings.

If the cavity is really extensive, a crown will be made and placed on the tooth in place of a filling. Crowns in general are used only for teeth that cannot be repaired through the use of a filling.

While we typically think of childhood and the teenage years as the “cavity prone years”, cavities are not limited to children.  Adults can also get cavities and those who have had periodontal disease are at a greater risk.  

Many factors account for plaque build-up and cavity formation. For preventative measures, avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar content. Being more balanced and healthy in what you choose to eat and drink will make a world of difference when it comes to cavity prevention. As parents, you should help instruct your children on the proper ways to brush their teeth so that they do not get cavities. If they start to understand how the plaque eats away at their teeth and causes cavities, they will be more conscientious while brushing their teeth and can hopefully avoid getting cavities in the first place.

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Raydfernandez 5 years ago

Very informative post....


Anonymous 5 years ago

Thanks for the information you provide

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