Most people have had at least one cavity and some people have had quite a few. So what is it that makes cavities so prevalent? Usually, the answer is not brushing and flossing enough and not getting regular check-ups in the dental office. Of course, certain foods such as snacks and sweets, sodas and energy drinks don’t help much at all. The best way to fight cavities is to be informed and to take action. So here we go with our cavities FAQs.
Q: What is the difference between a cavity and tooth decay?
A: Most people think that tooth decay and cavities are the same, however, that is not the case. Tooth decay actually refers to a very gradual process which bacteria produces acids that over time destroys the surfaces of the teeth. With time tooth decay can erode the enamel of the teeth enough to form a hole or cavity.
Q: How do you know if you have a cavity?
A: Durning the exam, the first thing we look for in our dental office is cavities. X-rays allow us to properly diagnose if you have cavities and how extensive they may be. Often times a cavity in a tooth will be visible with the naked eye. When we see black holes in the teeth, that is our first indication. Other indications are a sensitivity for hot or cold food and beverages and toothaches.
Q: How does your dental office treat cavities?
A: The size of the cavity and the degree of damage determines how we treat the cavity. Many cavities are treated with fillings however onlays may be necessary to treat larger cavities that are affecting the cusps of the teeth. If cavities are found in areas between the cusps, they may be treated with inlays. In dentistry, an inlay is an indirect restoration (filling) consisting of a solid substance. An onlay is the same as an inlay, except that it extends to replace a cusp.
In some cases, we use dental crowns to protect a tooth from further damage. We also use sealants for children’s teeth to protect them from getting cavities in the first place.
If you have any questions about cavities or any other dental issues, please give us a call. We are happy to educate our patients whenever possible.