What are Cavities & What You Need to Know | Blossom Smiles Dental

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Cavities, those little holes in our teeth, are a common dental woe that many of us have encountered at some point in our lives. While they may seem like a minor inconvenience, understanding the ins and outs of cavities can help you maintain optimal oral health.
What Exactly is a Cavity?
A cavity, also known as dental caries or tooth decay, is a small hole that forms in the hard surface of your teeth. It occurs when bacteria in your mouth produce acids that erode the enamel—the protective outer layer of your teeth. If left untreated, cavities can progress deeper into the tooth, leading to pain, infection, and even tooth loss.
Causes of Cavities
Several factors contribute to the development of cavities, including:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing allow plaque (a sticky film of bacteria) to build up on your teeth, leading to decay.
  • Dietary Habits: Consuming sugary and acidic foods and beverages feeds the bacteria in your mouth, accelerating the decay process.
  • Dry Mouth: Saliva plays a crucial role in neutralizing acids. A dry mouth can increase your risk of cavities.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may be more predisposed to cavities due to genetic factors like enamel strength and saliva composition.

Signs and Symptoms
Recognizing the signs of cavities early on can prevent further damage. Watch out for:

  • Tooth Sensitivity: Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages can indicate the presence of a cavity.
  • Toothache: Persistent tooth pain or discomfort, especially while chewing, may signal a cavity.
  • Visible Holes or Pits: If you notice any visible pits or holes in your teeth, it’s essential to seek dental attention promptly.

Prevention is Key
The good news is that cavities are largely preventable with proper oral hygiene and lifestyle habits. Here’s what you can do:

  • Brush Twice a Day: Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth thoroughly for two minutes, twice a day.
  • Floss Daily: Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along the gumline.
  • Limit Sugary and Acidic Foods: Minimize your consumption of sugary snacks and drinks, and rinse your mouth with water after indulging.
  • Visit Your local Burlington dentist and dental hygienist Regularly: Regular dental check-ups and dental hygiene in Burlington will allow your dentist to detect cavities early and provide timely treatment.
  • Consider Dental Sealants: Dental sealants are thin, protective coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of molars to prevent decay in hard-to-reach areas.

Treatment Options
If you’re diagnosed with a cavity, your dentist may recommend one of the following treatment options:

  • Fillings: Different Dental filling materials such as composite and amalgam are used by our local Burlington Dentists to fill these tiny holes and repair cavities.
  • Crowns: For larger cavities or teeth with extensive damage, a dental crown may be necessary to restore strength and function.
  • Root Canal Therapy: If the decay has reached the inner pulp of the tooth, root canal therapy may be required to remove the infected tissue and save the tooth. In most of the cases were root canal therapy is performed, a crown is usually placed to once again restore strength and functionality to the repaired tooth. Please consult one of our dental professionals in Burlington if this treatment option is what you require.
  • Extraction: In severe cases where the tooth is beyond repair, extraction may be the only option to prevent further complications.
    In conclusion, while cavities are a common dental concern, they can be prevented with proper oral care and regular visits to the dentist. By understanding the causes, signs, and treatment options for cavities, you can take proactive steps to safeguard your smile and maintain optimal oral health for years to come.

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