According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 91% of American adults have at least one dental cavity. If you live in the Houston area and haven’t seen a dentist in a few years, you might be among that group and should schedule a visit with Smita Rewari, DDS, at Floss West University. Treating cavities in the early stages can prevent more advanced dental decay and is an important part of your overall dental health. Book your appointment online or call the office to check availability.
Your mouth is filled with bacteria at all times, some that help keep you healthy and some that can harm you. Dental cavities, sometimes called dental caries, are tiny holes in your tooth tissue.
The bacteria in your mouth feed off sugars in foods you eat. Some of those sugars and bacteria remain on your teeth after you eat, creating a sticky film called plaque.
As the bacteria process those sugars, they create acids as a type of waste product. Those acids break down the minerals in your tooth enamel, creating microscopic holes.
Your body is able to counteract those changes by creating new minerals to strengthen your tooth enamel. In fact, there’s an ever-present balance of mineralization and demineralization taking place in your mouth. However, when you lose too much tooth enamel, there’s no going back, and the acid enters your tooth and begins to destroy tissue at an accelerated pace.
The best way to prevent cavities is with a combination of excellent oral hygiene habits and routine dental exams. Proper brushing and flossing remove bacteria and plaque as it accumulates.
Routine dental exams go a step further, removing all traces of plaque and tartar, which develop as plaque hardens on the surface of your teeth. Dental exams also give Dr. Rewari an opportunity to identify areas of weakness or decay and take steps to repair the damage.
Treatment depends on the extent of the damage, and you might have cavities that require different treatment options.
For small cavities, Dr. Rewari removes the decayed tooth tissue before filling the cavity with a special dental material. Your filling might be made of a metal alloy or a tooth-colored composite resin.
For more advanced decay, a dental crown offers structural support for a weakened tooth. Dr. Rewari removes the damaged tooth tissue, completes a filling, then covers the restored tooth with an artificial crown or cap.
If a cavity has reached the interior portion of your tooth and the pulp is infected, a root canal might be the only way to save the tooth. The process involves removing all dental pulp before filling the tooth canals with a special material, sealing the access point, and covering the entire tooth with a crown.
If the damage is too advanced to repair, extracting or “pulling” the tooth may be the only remaining option.
To learn if you have one or more cavities, book a dental exam with Floss West University today.