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Development of a Cavity

July 15, 2017

teen with a toothache and cavity holding cheekCavities are the most common oral health concern patients can experience. Most people will have at least one cavity in his or her lifetime. During regular dental checkups, we examine patients’ smiles for the early warning signs of tooth decay. When caught early, we’re able to offer minimally invasive, effective restoration solutions. In addition to daily brushing and flossing, keeping your six month dental checkups is the best way to maintain a whole, healthy, cavity-free smile. Contact the caring Plano dentistry team at Dental Renaissance to schedule your checkup today.

What Causes Cavities?

The inside of the mouth is its own functioning ecosystem. There are thousands of bacteria that live in the mouth digesting and breaking down nutrients from foods and drinks we ingest on a daily basis. Like any living organism, bacteria absorb nutrients and excrete waste. Unfortunately, the waste produced by oral bacteria is a sticky, acidic biofilm called plaque. As we eat, saliva works to neutralize this acidic plaque, but when the level of acidity is greater than the basal content of saliva, tooth enamel may be weakened. Left on the surfaces of teeth, plaque will continue to destroy tooth enamel, leading to decay and cavities. That’s why it’s so important to remove plaque and bacteria from teeth and gums each day with regular brushing and flossing.

Risk Factors for Cavities

There are many reasons why patients may be at an increased risk for cavities, and by knowing what these risk factors are, patients may be better equipped to avoid decay. Some of the common things that predispose patients for cavities include:

  • Deeper pits and grooves in teeth that make thoroughly cleaning more difficult
  • Improperly brushing or flossing while learning to care for teeth or at any point in life
  • Naturally thinner tooth enamel
  • Regularly eating acidic or sugary foods
  • Neglecting at-home hygiene or regular dental appointments

Tooth Decay Treatments

In most cases, we’re able to place a small, natural looking composite resin filling to replace lost tooth enamel, repairing the smile following tooth decay. If decay is able to progress to more severe levels, an advanced restorative dentistry solution may be necessary. Advanced decay too severe to be effectively repaired with tooth-colored fillings may need to be restored using a dental crown. This restoration material fits completely over the top of a damaged tooth to protect the remaining tooth parts and replace lost dental structure. Decay that accesses the innermost layer of the tooth where the nerve is housed may require the completion of a root canal. This is a procedure that removes the pulp and nerve structure, replacing it with a similar substance.

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