How to Prevent Cavities
Tooth decay is very common, and generally affects young children or young adults, but it can occur at any age. Untreated cavities are a common cause of tooth loss amongst younger people as tooth decay can cause relatively few symptoms until it is well progressed, when treatment to save the tooth is not always successful. If you have regular checkups at Midtown Dentistry then this is not likely to be a problem, as cavities can be detected while in the early stages.
DIAGNOSING A CAVITY
Your dentist will examine your teeth to determine if any of the tooth surfaces are soft, as this will indicate the presences of a cavity, or that a cavity is beginning to form. Dental x-rays show cavities in areas not visible to the naked eye, such as in between the teeth.
TREATING A CAVITY
Once the cavity has been diagnosed your dentist will discuss treatments suitable to return the tooth to full function, so you can bite and chew normally.
FILLINGS, INLAYS AND ONLAYS
Treatments may involve filling the tooth with tooth colored composite resin, or if the decay is more extensive it might be necessary to have an inlay or onlay. These are used to repair larger areas of decay in the back teeth, replacing the chewing surfaces and possibly the cusps of the teeth as well. The cusps are those raised points you can see on the edges closest to the cheeks and tongue. Inlays and onlays can be made from porcelain or from gold or composite.
ROOT CANAL THERAPY
If the decay has reached the central area of the tooth and has penetrated the pulp, your dentist will need to carry out root canal therapy to remove the pulp and all the infection. This treatment removes all the decayed tooth material, as well as the nerves and blood vessels contained in the pulp. Afterwards the tooth is sealed before being permanently restored with either a filling or crown.
Dental crowns are necessary when too much of the tooth has been lost to decay for it to be restored with a filling. In this case a crown is necessary to cover up the tooth completely, right down to the gum line.
HOW TO PREVENT CAVITIES
You can lower your risk of cavities through making sure you brush twice a day and floss once a day, as this will help to remove bacteria that cause tooth decay. Making small changes to your diet such as cutting out snacks and sugary drinks will decrease acidity in your mouth, lessening the chance of cavities forming.