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Dental Cavity – How to Know if You Have One?

Dental Cavities – What you Need to Know?

A cavity is another term for tooth decay. Cavities form as tiny holes in your tooth and cause permanent damage to your tooth. If left untreated, cavities can result in tooth loss.

Although some may be more susceptible to this condition, lifestyle habits can influence how likely you are to develop it. Of course, scheduled visits to the dental hospital can help keep the condition in check.

Now let’s look at how cavities form and how to prevent them. We shall also examine the treatment options. Learn More

What Causes Cavities and How to Prevent?

Cavities are caused when the enamel of your teeth gets damaged due to plaque formation. Plaque is nothing but a combination of food particles, saliva, acids and bacteria.

Every human being has some amount of bacteria in their mouth. When you consume sugary foods or those high in starches, these bacteria turn them into acids. These acids erode the enamel, resulting in cavities. Other factors that deteriorate the condition include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Consuming sugary foods or drinks
  • Smoking
  • Dry mouth
  • Other underlying medical problems such as diabetes.

Though seemingly harmless, untreated cavities could cause more severe damages including permanent loss of tooth.

Only a dentist can diagnose and conclude if you have a decayed tooth. However, you can still recognize some common symptoms that indicate a developing problem.

  • A toothache that appears suddenly
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks
  • Pits or holes in the tooth
  • Black or brown stains on your teeth

It’s no secret that poor lifestyle habits cause cavities. This means they can easily be prevented by making appropriate changes to your lifestyle.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss regularly to remove plaque accumulation between the teeth
  • Have a balanced diet and avoid sugary foods.
  • Have routine dental checkups and tooth cleanings

Remember, preventive care can lower the risk of these dental conditions and eliminate minor issues before they become major threats.

A Doctor examining patient for cavities

Diagnosis and Treatment options

As we have been saying, regular dental visits are the best way to ensure a cavity is diagnosed in its early stages and treated right. Treatment options depend on the severity of the problem and the tooth that has got affected. For cavities that have just started, there are several home remedies such as a salt water rinse that can help reduce pain.

Fluoride treatments
If your cavity has just started, a simple fluoride treatment can address the issue.

If the cavity has progressed, your dentist will safely remove the damaged portion of the tooth and replace it with a dental filling.

Dental crowns
If a considerable portion of your tooth is decayed, your dentist will drill out all the decayed portions and replace the natural crown of your tooth with a custom-fitted crown.

Root canal treatment
If the decay has reached the root, a root canal treatment may be required to repair the damage. The damaged tooth pulp is removed, and the area is filled.

A worst-case scenario, this will be the last resort when the damage to the tooth is so severe that it cannot be restored.

Bottom line
A cavity at the outset might seem like a minor issue. But the condition may escalate and cause severe problems, if ignored. The best thing you can do to ensure a healthy smile is to stay vigilant on your oral routine, watch for signs of decay and have scheduled dental visits.

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