Most people suffered from having a cavity at least once in their life. What is a cavity? It is a small hole in the tooth that forms when the tooth enamel, which is the hard outer layer of the tooth breaks down.
While cavities are common dental problems, they can be prevented with regular visits to the dentist and practising proper oral hygiene at home.
What causes cavities?
Your teeth are covered by a thick layer of protective coating called enamel. It is made up of minerals such as calcium, which develop hard crystals to surround the nerves and blood vessels in the tooth. However, the enamel is not a living material, so it cannot repair itself.
Bacteria in the mouth turn the sugars from the food you eat into acid that can erode the tooth enamel. As the enamel becomes thinner and weaker, it can lead to cavity formation.
Symptoms and diagnosis of cavities
When you want your teeth checked by a private dentist in Cheltenham, visit https://regencyhousedentalpractice.co.uk so you can quickly know if you are developing cavities. Cavities may not be detected immediately, which is why you need to visit a dentist for a checkup every six months.
Preventing cavity formation
Cavities are quite common, but you can prevent their formation, by following these steps.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes. Use fluoride toothpaste as often as possible.
- Floss after every meal.
- Reduce your intake of sugary drinks and snacks because they produce plaque.
- Avoid snacking frequently to that you will not be exposed to acids from the food you eat.
- Visit your dentist regularly to maintain good oral health.
Treatments for cavities
If the cavity is discovered early, your dentist might be able to stop it from doing more damage with fluoride treatments, which repair the minerals on the enamel that were used up by the formation of plaque.
But if the cavity is already worse, the treatment will vary. Dentists today want to save the tooth as much as possible. So, they may choose to do any of the following:
- This means that the dentist will drill the damaged enamel, first to remove any food particle that may have entered the cavity. Once the cavity is clean, the dentist will fill it up with a synthetic material that will cure and harden in a short time.
- Root canal. If the cavity has reached the pulp that contains the nerves and blood vessels, the dentist may suggest root canal treatment. The dentist will clean the root and fill in the cavity with a temporary filling. On your next appointment, the dentist will add a crown if the cavity has eroded the top of the tooth, or fill it in with the permanent filling.
- Tooth extraction. If the tooth is seriously damaged and cannot be saved, the dentist will advise you that the tooth needs to be pulled. You may have to wear a dental implant or dental bridge to prevent the rest of your teeth from moving to fill up the space left by the pulled tooth.
Knowing what causes cavities will help you prevent them from forming. Likewise, make sure that you practice good oral hygiene at home.