When cavities form in your teeth, they can lead to issues like pain, infection, and eventually tooth extraction. People of any age can end up with a cavity. Good oral hygiene habits like daily brushing and flossing, along with regular dental checkups, can prevent cavities from forming. Greenwood Dental Care helps residents living in Waukegan, IL, and surrounding areas deal with dental health issues.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
Sugars and starches left behind by the food you eat attract bacteria that create acids that eat away at your tooth enamel. That leads to the loss of minerals and eventually weakens and destroys your enamel, leading to a cavity. Different types of cavities include:
- Surface cavities — These cavities form on the surface of and in between your teeth. They form slowly, so it’s possible to halt and even turn back the surface cavities’ progression through regular brushing and flossing.
- Pit and fissure cavities — These dental caries form on the top of the chewing surface of your teeth. They can also grow on the front side of your back teeth. They usually start forming when you are a teenager and develop quickly.
- Root cavities — Yes, you can end up with cavities in the roots of your teeth. They’re common in older adults or anyone dealing with receding gums. When gums pull back from your teeth, your roots become exposed and vulnerable to the formation of cavities. Root dental cavities can be difficult to prevent and repair.
You don’t have to be a sugar addict to end up with a cavity. Many foods contain natural sugars that can lead to the same issue. That’s why it’s important to brush your teeth every day and remove the residue from the surface of your teeth. Regular dental cleanings can remove any buildup you can’t get rid of at home.
What Are Some Early Signs of Tooth Decay?
Unfortunately, cavities that occur on the surface of your enamel don’t typically cause pain or discomfort. You’re more likely to start experiencing symptoms as the decay progresses into the dentin and roots of your teeth. Signs that you may be dealing with a cavity include:
- Bad breath
- The sense of an unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Sensitivity to cold or hot foods and drinks
- Redness around or inside your mouth
- Face swelling
- Bleeding gums
The most effective way of finding cavities early is through regular dental visits. A dentist can spot developing caries through examination or by seeing them on an x-ray. If they catch them early enough, a fluoride treatment may be enough to repair your tooth enamel.
If it’s progressed to the point where it’s causing more severe tooth enamel damage, your dentist has tools and instruments available for cavity fillings. They drill out the decaying portion of the tooth, then fill the hole using dental filling material made of gold, silver amalgam, or composite resin.
What Happens If Cavities Are Not Caught Early?
Sometimes cavities progress to the point where you need restorative dentistry services like a root canal. If they can’t save your tooth, the dentist may recommend a tooth extraction to save the rest of your teeth from decay.
You can help prevent cavities by:
- Using a fluoride toothpaste when brushing your teeth, ideally after every meal
- Reducing the amount of food and drinks you consume that contain sugar and starches
- Flossing each day to remove plaque and food trapped between your teeth
- Getting dental sealants that protect the chewing surface of your teeth
Maintain Healthy Teeth With Regular Dental Visits
Make Greenwood Dental Care your choice of provider if you live in or around Waukegan, Illinois, and need a cavity filling. We offer a wide array of services, including: