Cavities Treatment: What you need to know
Cavity treatment is a common procedure in dentistry that aims to remove areas of the tooth damaged by cavities and restore the normal structure of the tooth. If you have cavities, here is everything you need to know to make an informed decision about treatment.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is an area of the tooth that has been demineralized by acids produced by bacteria found in plaque. If left untreated, tooth decay can spread inside the tooth, damaging the nerve and causing severe pain and tooth infection.
Cavities can be caused by several factors, including poor dental hygiene, a diet high in sugar and starch, lack of fluoride in drinking water, dry mouth, poor salivary flow and genetic predisposition.
Do cavities occur more frequently in children?
Dental cavities can affect people of all ages, but children tend to be more vulnerable to cavities than adults due to certain lifestyle habits and risk factors.
Children often eat a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates that can support the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. In addition, children may have difficulty brushing their teeth properly, which can leave food residue on the teeth and make them more susceptible to cavities.
Finally, children's teeth have thinner enamel and fewer minerals, making them more susceptible to the acid attacks that cause cavities.
Therefore, it is important for parents to ensure that their children eat a healthy diet, teach them good dental hygiene, and have regular checkups at the dentist to prevent cavities and treat any that may occur promptly.
How do you know if you have a cavity?
To find out if you have tooth decay, it is important to see a dentist for a check-up at least once a year. Indeed, the first stages of tooth decay can be without apparent symptoms. However, if left untreated, symptoms such as tooth sensitivity, visible holes in the teeth, white, brown or black stains, as well as localized or generalized pain may appear. It is crucial to make an appointment with a dentist as soon as these signs are noticed to avoid more serious complications such as dental abscesses. Toothache is one of the most common reasons for emergency dental visits.
The following is a rephrasing of the list of symptoms that may indicate the presence of tooth decay or complications from untreated decay:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Appearance of small holes visible to the naked eye on the teeth
- White, brown, or black spots on the surface of the teeth
- Localized pain in a part of the face, with no apparent cause
- Tooth pain when chewing food or consuming sweet, acidic, hot or cold foods or drinks
- Toothache, which is one of the most common reasons for emergency dental consultations in Lausanne
- Dental abscess, which is a bacterial overgrowth in the gums, ligaments and/or jawbones.
Is it serious to have a cavity?
In itself, no. But it's important to consider tooth decay when it first appears, because if left untreated, it can cause more serious problems.
Tooth decay is a bacterial infection that can destroy tooth enamel and spread to deeper layers, such as dentin and tooth pulp. The initial symptoms of a cavity may be mild or even non-existent, but if left untreated, it can lead to tooth pain, increased sensitivity, dental abscesses, inflammation of the tissues in the mouth and even tooth loss.
In addition to pain and physical problems, untreated tooth decay can also affect a person's quality of life. They can cause bad breath, poor dental aesthetics and affect self-confidence.
Overall, it is important to treat tooth decay as soon as possible to avoid more serious complications and to maintain good oral health.
How is tooth decay treated?
Dental cavities are usually treated in two appointments with your dentist. During the first visit, your dentist will assess the severity of the cavity by taking an x-ray of the tooth and performing a visual examination. Then, he or she will clean the affected area of the tooth with a dental drill and fill the cavity with a dental composite, dental crown or inlay/onlay.
During the second visit, your dentist will check the fit and comfort of the denture and secure it in place using a special dental cement.
The various treatment options include:
- Treating decay with a composite: If decay is detected early and damage to the tooth is minimal, your dentist may remove the affected area of the tooth and fill it with a dental composite. Composite is a composite resin that matches the color of your teeth and fits perfectly into the tooth.
- Treating decay with a dental crown: If the decay is more severe and the damage to the tooth is more extensive, your dentist may recommend a dental crown to protect the tooth and prevent the tooth from breaking. A dental crown is a prosthesis that completely covers the damaged tooth.
- Treating decay with an inlay or onlay: If the decay is too severe to be treated with a simple filling, your dentist may recommend a dental inlay or onlay. These dentures are custom-made to fit perfectly into the tooth cavity.
How can I prevent cavities?
Prevention is the best way to fight tooth decay. It is about giving our teeth all the care they deserve. Here are some preventive measures to take:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Use dental floss or an interdental brush to clean the spaces between your teeth.
- Limit your intake of foods high in sugar and starch.
- Avoid snacking between meals as this can lead to cavities.
- Eat calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt.
- See your dentist regularly for dental check-ups and cleanings.
Tooth decay is a common and preventable problem. By taking care of your teeth and practicing good oral hygiene, you can reduce your risk of developing cavities. If you do get a cavity, it's important to treat it promptly to avoid complications and maintain your long-term oral health. Remember to visit your dentist regularly for dental check-ups and cleanings.