Bottom line, anyone who has teeth can get cavities, and cavities and dental decay are among the world’s most common health problems. Cavities are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth that develop into very small openings or holes. Also referred to as tooth decay, cavities are caused by a number of issues, including teeth not being cleaned well, bacteria in your mouth, snacking too often, and drinking overly sugared beverages. Our East Northport cosmetic dentist, Roger Curtiss, DDS, likes to educate all our patients on the importance of good oral hygiene and the consequences of cavities and dental decay.
When cavities are left untreated, they get larger and soon affect the deeper layers of your teeth. These untreated cavities will also lead to infection, severe toothache, and, ultimately, loss of the tooth. Dr. Curtiss cannot stress enough how important regular dental visits are as well as good brushing and flossing habits to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Some signs to look out for are toothache, sensitivity or sharp pain when eating sweets or something hot or cold, pain when biting down, visible holes in teeth, or any discharge around your teeth or gums. There may be no symptoms at all when a cavity is new but our East Northport cosmetic dentist might be able to see decay starting and recommend the proper steps to prevent it from getting worse. That’s why it’s necessary to make and keep regular dental checkup appointments as well and cleanings. Your mouth can feel fine but by the time you notice symptoms, the damage has gotten worse.
As far as treatments for cavities go, it depends on the severity of the decay and each patient’s situation. One common treatment for cavities just beginning is a fluoride treatment. Fluoride is a mineral that helps teeth repair themselves at early stages of decay. Once the damage has become permanent, fillings replace decayed areas of your teeth and are the main treatment option. If you have extensive decay or your teeth have gotten weak due to the cavity, you may need a crown, instead of a filling, to restore your tooth. Our East Northport cosmetic dentist will recommend a root canal when decay reaches the inner material of your tooth (pulp). With this procedure, the tooth pulp is removed and replaced with a filling. When teeth become badly decayed and there is no option for restoration, they must be removed.