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Cavities Q & A
Cavities, also known as tooth decay, are essentially damage to the tooth that can’t be reversed by brushing and flossing alone. These permanently damaged surfaces in your teeth eventually form tiny holes, which only grow larger when left untreated.
One of the world’s most common health problems, cavities can appear at any age — even infants get them in some cases — but they’re most often seen in children, teenagers, and older adults.
Tooth decay can affect the outer (enamel) and inner (dentin) layers of your tooth and typically appear when bacteria and food debris stick to your teeth and cause plaque to form.
Certain foods and drinks known to raise your risk of developing cavities include:
- Sugary and/or carbonated drinks, drinks like soda, sparkling water, and fruit juice
- Sweets like candy, cookies, cake, and honey
- Acidic fruits
Cavities can form on any tooth but are most commonly seen in areas that are not easily visible when looking in the mirror and can be tougher to access and clean. Areas where plaque and debris build up on the teeth and areas between teeth that are not regularly cleansed by flossing are most susceptible to decay.
Most of the time, you won’t know you have a cavity until your dentist diagnoses one at your routine checkup. However, it’s important to watch out for these common warning signs, as they could indicate that you have a cavity forming:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Chewing pain
- Bad taste in mouth
- Bad breath
- Tooth discoloration
- Obvious holes in teeth
- Bleeding when brushing
- Gum swelling
Your symptoms will only worsen the longer you wait, so it’s important to schedule a dental appointment right away at the first sign of trouble.
After Dr. Schilling or Dr. Craven at Skyway Dental Clinic diagnoses your cavity, they’ll remove as much decay from the tooth as possible and replace it with a composite resin filling, the most common filling material. We are proud that many of our composite materials are made without the harmful material found in some plastics, Bis-GMA.
In some cases, severe tooth decay can lead to a situation where too little healthy tooth structure is left to support a filling. A full coverage crown or in very severe cases, extraction of the tooth, may be necessary.
Call Skyway Dental Clinic or book an appointment online today to learn more about cavities and treatment options.