Your teeth are one of the most important parts of your body. Not only do they help you eat and speak, but they also have a big impact on your appearance. Because they are constantly used and exposed to so much wear and tear, it is not uncommon for issues to arise with your teeth. One of the most common dental problems that a person experiences is cavities. In fact, most people will have a cavity at some point in their life. Cavities, which are nothing more than decay in a tooth, are one of the most common disorders, and their damage can range from mild to moderate to severe. All cavities, even the most severe, start out small. It is when they are left untreated that they can become massive problems, requiring extensive and painful repair, such as a root canal and even the loss of the tooth.
With the proper knowledge, and the proper care, you can make sure that you don't have to suffer the extreme discomfort and extensive dental work that a massive cavity will require. Here is a look at what you need to know about dental cavities.
A Comprehensive Look at Cavities
As previously mentioned, cavities are one of the most common conditions people experience. Cavities are so common, in fact, that they are the number one cause of tooth loss in young people.
Causes. Bacteria is the cause of tooth decay. It is not uncommon to find bacteria in the mouth, in fact, it is normal. This bacteria changes the food you consume into acid, which combines with your salvia and sticks to the teeth. This is known as plaque, and if it is not removed, it begins to decay the teeth.
Signs and Symptoms
When cavities begin to form, they do not have symptoms, in other words, they do not hurt. However, as the decay progresses, symptoms will start to present themselves. These symptoms include:
>> Aches or pains in the tooth that is affected, especially when eating something that is hot, cold or sweet.
>> Visual signs of tooth decay include visible, dark colored holes in the teeth.
Detecting Tooth Decay. Cavities can be detected in their early stages, before they progress, during a routine dental exam. X-rays of the teeth are taken, which show signs of cavities before they become visible to the naked eye. Your dentist will also examine your teeth with a special tool to look for signs of pitting or softness in the surface of the teeth.
Treatment for Cavities. When tooth decay is detected, it needs to be treated as soon as possible to avoid further damage. If caught early enough, this treatment will involve the filling of the cavities. If the decay has progressed too far, a crown or even a root canal will be needed.
The process of repairing this decay with a filing begins with the dentist removing the decayed tooth material with a drill. The material that is removed is then replaced with a material such as gold, porcelain, silver alloy, or a composite resin. This material will prevent further damage from occurring. A crown is used in situations when extensive decay begins and there is little structure of the tooth left. A root canal is used when the decay has damaged or killed the root of the tooth. With a root canal, the center of the tooth is removed, as well as the nerve, and the root is filled with a sealing material. The tooth is then filled and a crown is installed.