What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay, or cavities, are permanently damaged areas of the tooth enamel that results in pockets of decay on the tooth’s surface. Tooth decay and cavities can be caused by a combination of factors including bacteria in your mouth, frequent snacking, sipping sugary drinks, and not taking proper care of your teeth.
If cavities aren’t treated, they get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth. They can lead to severe toothache, infection, and tooth loss. Regular dental visits and good brushing and flossing habits are your best protection against cavities and tooth decay. Cavities can be repaired quite simply with fillings, but even more important is proper dental hygiene to avoid them in the first place.
Signs & Symptoms of Tooth Decay
The signs and symptoms of cavities vary, depending on their extent and location. When a cavity is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all. As the decay gets larger, it may cause signs and symptoms such as toothache, tooth sensitivity, mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold, visible holes or pits in your teeth, brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth, or pain when you bite down.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please give us a call right away! (509) 581-0081 Ignoring a cavity can lead to something more serious – for instance, an infection that invades your tooth and then requires a root canal and crown to repair the damage. Be sure to take care of the little dental problems before they become big dental problems.
Tooth Decay Treatments
The most common treatment for minor tooth decay and cavities is a filling. A filling is simply a way to fill back in the damaged part of your tooth with a filling material. This helps by closing off the opening to avoid more bacteria in the site as well as prevents the tooth from decaying further. Your dentist will start by numbing the gums around the teeth that will be treated to prevent any pain or discomfort. The dentist will then drill out the decay on your tooth, leaving it bacteria free, and will fill in the space with the filling material so everything feels like new!
Fillings do wear over the years and may eventually need to be replaced. If you clench or grind your teeth you may need to have your fillings replaced sooner. If you notice any signs of wear on your fillings like cracks or worn areas, contact your dentist to get it replaced as soon as possible.