Cavities affect people of all ages, from young children to older adults.
In a healthy mouth, the enamel, which is the hard outer layer of the tooth, protects the softer tissues inside. Certain foods and beverages, and the body’s natural elements, can attack the enamel, forming a layer of bacteria known as plaque. Plaque eats away at the enamel and decays the tooth, resulting in an opening called a cavity.
Old fillings can also let bacteria in, causing tooth decay and cavities.
Common symptoms of tooth decay
- Toothache: Continuous pain that keeps you awake or occasional sharp pain without an apparent cause.
- Tooth sensitivity: Pain or sensitivity with hot, cold or sweet foods and beverages
- Bad breath: Unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Dark spots on your teeth
Treating Tooth Decay
Filling the cavity is one of the most common ways to treat cavities and tooth decay.
A filling repairs and restores the surface of your tooth that has been damaged by decay, fracture, or wear. It helps strengthen the tooth. If tooth decay is not promptly repaired at its early stages, it can worsen, and additional treatments may be necessary.
In the past, metal was commonly used to fill cavities. Today, almost all cavities are filled with tooth-colored composite resin in a quick and painless process.
Composite resin is a combination of finely ground acrylic and quartz particles that can be tinted to match the color of your affected tooth. The adhesive in the resin securely bonds to your tooth’s structure to create an effective seal against oral bacteria and reinfection. The resin provides such natural-looking results that it is also frequently applied in cosmetic tooth bonding.
How to avoid tooth decay
- Brush your teeth two times a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Brush for a full two minutes each time
- Cut down on sugary and acidic foods and beverages
- Floss daily to remove debris that can cause decay
- Maintain a regular schedule of cleanings and exams with us
- Ask if fluoride treatments and dental sealants can be of benefit to you
Stay current with cleanings and exams to avoid tooth decay. Call today to schedule your appointment at Lockhart Dentistry.