Causes, Types, and Treatment of Dental Cavities

Causes, Types, and Treatment of Dental Cavities

Aug 01, 2021

A dental cavity is a hole on the hard surface of your tooth that causes severe dental pain, tooth discoloration, and tooth sensitivity if not treated. Bacteria in our mouths interact with the foods and drinks that we consume to create an acid, which erodes the tooth’s enamel.

The bacteria, saliva, acid, and food particles combine to form plaque, which attacks the enamel causing the hole to increase. A small cavity may be painless since the inner layers of your tooth are not affected. Big cavities are extremely painful and, if not treated early, may result in tooth extraction.

Causes of Dental Cavities

  • Inadequate dental hygiene – Tooth care should be regular and thorough to ensure that plaque does not cause tooth decay. Visit the dentist near you at least twice a year for professional dental cleaning.
  • Consuming too many acidic or sugary drinks or foods without observing dental hygiene after.
  • People who suffer from eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia and acid reflux disease are at high risk for tooth cavities.
  • A dry mouth increases the risk of cavities. Saliva keeps our teeth clean by flushing away food particles and bacteria, therefore, strengthening the enamel. Stay hydrated to increase saliva in the mouth.
  • Cavities may develop along the edges of teeth which have older fillings.
  • Dental trauma
  • Inadequate fluoride

Types of Dental Cavities

  • Pit and Fissure Cavities – This is a type of cavity that forms on the chewing surface of your tooth when plaque or food particles stick on it, and dental hygiene is not observed. These cavities are small and easily treated.
  • Smooth Surface Cavities – These cavities are mostly found on the flat outer surface of the teeth on teeth that are at the sides of the mouth. They are easily treated through fluoride treatments and regular dental hygiene.
  • Root Cavities – Cavities located on the surface of the roots of your teeth are called root cavities. They mainly affect older adults with receding gums or people with gum disorders. Root cavities are treated using dental crowns or fillings.

Treating Dental Cavities

Once you have made an appointment with a dentist near you for cavity treatment, a diagnosis will be carried out. The dentist will ask about your tooth pain and sensitivity, carefully examine your teeth and mouth and take dental x-rays to determine the extent of cavities and decay.

The severity of your cavity will determine the treatment options offered by the dentist. Your dentist may choose any of the options below to fix the hole in a tooth:

  • Dental Fillings

A large cavity may require to be filled. Tooth fillings are made of different materials like amalgam, tooth-colored composites, or porcelain. Your dentist will help you choose a suitable filling based on your needs and budget.

  • Fluoride Treatment

This treatment is suitable for small cavities to restore the enamel of the affected tooth. Fluoride treatment at the dentist contains extra fluoride and may be in the form of gel, varnish, or foam. The gel is brushed onto the teeth or placed in a dental tray over your teeth.

  • Dental Crowns

Teeth may be weakened by extensive decay and large cavities wearing away the crown. Dental crowns are customized to fit over your tooth and replace the natural crown of your tooth. The dentist will drill out the decayed area and fit in a crown made of; porcelain, gold, or fused metal.

  • Root Canals

This treatment fixes teeth cavities that have reached the inner part of your tooth, known as the tooth pulp. A root canal repairs the damaged area of the tooth by removing the infected tooth pulp, treating any infections, and replacing the pulp with a tooth filling.

  • Tooth Extraction

Your dentist will explore all options before settling on tooth extraction. Only teeth that are decayed beyond restoration can be extracted. The dentist will discuss with you the options available for replacing the extracted tooth.

Tips to Prevent Tooth Cavities

  • Brush twice every day with toothpaste rich in fluoride.
  • Floss daily to remove food particles and bacteria stuck between your teeth.
  • Limit consuming foods and beverages which are sugary, acidic, or which contain refined carbohydrates.
  • Get dental sealants on your teeth.
  • Hydrate constantly to avoid a dry mouth.
  • Eat foods rich in fiber, calcium, and fluoride.

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