Natural bacteria lives and forms plaque in your mouth. When plaque interacts with leftover material from food and beverages, it forms acid. Over time, the acid erodes the enamel on your teeth and causes tooth decay, commonly known as cavities, or dental caries. Treatments can include dental fillings, if the tooth can be saved, or a root canal.
Tooth decay and cavities are common in both adults and children and can largely be prevented with good oral hygiene and routine dental care. Annapolis area family dentist Dr. Vernon Sheen offers comprehensive general dentistry for patients and families, emphasizing the importance of routine dental visits for disease prevention and the maintenance of good dental health.
Avoiding the dentist for long periods of time or consuming a diet that is high in added sugars are key contributors to tooth decay. When left untreated, tooth decay can threaten the integrity of your smile, leading to gum disease and even tooth loss.
Dental Cavities Prevention
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily
- Limit sugary and starchy foods
- Maintain regular dentist visits
- Dental sealants
Dr. Sheen can place dental sealants for patients of all ages and typically recommends them for children whose larger back teeth, or molars, have erupted.
Dental Cavity Symptoms
The best way to detect a cavity early is to maintain regular visits to the dentist. During your bi-annual checkups, Dr. Sheen can spot cavities in the stages when treatment is more conservative. Only when the cavity is advanced will you experience symptoms such as:
- Tooth Sensitivity
- Pain or sensitivity when eating or drinking hot or cold foods and beverages
- Holes in the teeth
- Pus around teeth and gums
Dental Cavities Treatment
In its early stage, tooth decay can be stopped or even reversed with fluorides or other preventative treatments such as dental sealants. Treatment for dental cavities usually includes tooth fillings. Dr. Sheen uses resin based, metal free composite fillings that mimic the color of natural teeth. These types of fillings will blend in naturally with the rest of your smile. Traditional dental fillings were silver or amalgam and were very much noticeable when you smile. Sometimes they would even give the appearance of grey teeth. Getting a filling is a simple procedure that can be completed in a single office visit. Tooth fillings provide long-lasting treatment and protect the tooth from further decay.
If the cavity is large, the tooth may not be strong enough to support the filling. In this case, a dental crown will be placed over the tooth. A dental crown will help give the tooth strength and prevent further damage.
If tooth decay is left untreated, it is possible for it to progress and spread to the inner layers of the tooth. This severe decay can lead to an infection developing deep within the tooth pulp. If it reaches this point, root canal therapy will be necessary to fix the tooth.
The degree of tooth decay and options for treatment vary greatly from person to person, so it is important to make an appointment. Dr. Sheen of Annapolis is accepting new patients. Call us at (443) 482- 5202, or request an appointment online today.