How Do Cavities Form?
At the Boston offices of James M. Stein, DMD, we treat cavities with care and expertise, restoring the smile to its natural, beautiful state. Cavities should be treated quickly, as they can lead to more serious problems such as pain and sensitivity and even tooth loss.
What Causes a Cavity?
Cavities occur in both children and adults and can develop on different areas of the teeth. They start off by eroding the protective layer of the tooth, the enamel. After breaking through the surface of a tooth, the tooth decay begins to eat away at the dentin layer of the teeth. In the worst cases, the tooth decay penetrates the inner root canals of the teeth. As the tooth decay progresses, it leaves an exposed hole or cavity in the tooth.
Cavities form when plaque and bacteria in your mouth accumulates on the teeth above and below the gum line, on any surface of the tooth. The build up of plaque creates an environment in which bacteria can thrive. The bacteria produce acid, which damage the healthy tooth structure. Once a cavity forms, it can continue to grow and create a larger hole within the tooth.
To prevent cavities or detect their presence in the earliest stages of development, patients should attend regular check-ups. It is common for patients to not notice the symptoms of cavities until extensive damage has been done, threatening the integrity of the tooth.
How Cavities Are Treated
At our Boston cosmetic dentistry practice, wecan treat cavities regardless of their severity, utilizing a variety of specialized techniques to help restore the smile’s natural beauty.
Cavities, when caught early and before they compromise the integrity of the healthy tooth, are most often treated with a traditional filling, inlay, or onlay.
Traditional fillingsare applied in-office in one visit. They are made of a metal alloy, porcelain, or a resin, and they mold into the cavity to stabilize your tooth and prevent the cavity’s growth.
Inlays and onlays are applied in two visits. In the first, the dentist will clean and take a mold of the cavity. From this mold, the inlay or onlay is created in a lab from silver, gold, porcelain, or composite resin. This filling is then applied in a second visit and bonded to the tooth.
At our offices in Boston, dental crowns may also be applied to your tooth. Crowns are a more involved restorative option in which the weakened tooth is encapsulated by a crown.
The most serious cavities may require the removal of your tooth, which may be replaced with an implant-supported crown or bridge. In every dental procedure, our Boston dentist will try to save as much of your healthy tooth as possible.
Children are most susceptible to cavities as they are less likely to maintain a strict dental hygiene regimen. You should take your child to the dentist shortly after his or her first primary tooth grows in. The first dental appointment is designed to establish good dental hygiene and monitor teeth to catch any cavities as early as possible.
For adults, cavity prevention takes a few simple steps. You should regularly brush, floss, and rinse your mouth. To reduce the amount of plaque that builds up, you should also avoid sweet or starchy foods, which cause it to build up faster. Lastly, you should maintain regular dental check-ups so that Dr. Stein and our trained staff can find any cavities that are hidden or just forming.
For more information on how cavities form or information on any of the specialized procedures we perform at our Boston dentistry office, please contact us today.