What exactly is a cavity? Can it be prevented? We are going to answer these questions as well as what ends up happening if a cavity is left untreated. There are many phases a cavity goes through before it becomes severe and Minot dentist explains each of the phases below. Keep reading to learn more.
There are signs when you first get a cavity that many people decide to ignore. Perhaps you don’t have insurance and don’t want to pay for it. Maybe your schedules are so busy they don’t know when they will fit it in. Maybe you just don’t like going to the dentist. For whatever reason, it’s common to do nothing when we may think there is decay happening in our mouth.
With that said, it’s good the extreme damage to the tooth doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time to build up and cause significant damage. If you catch a cavity early you can reverse the cavity, so nothing needs to be done. If you catch it later though it will turn into a cavity and steps will need to be made. If you don’t address the cavity quickly, more and more damage will happen as well as pain.
There are many things that cause decay to the tooth. Remember, some people are more susceptible to tooth decay than others. Regardless of if you are or not, everything can get tooth decay.
Understanding what causes cavities will help you to prevent cavities from forming. The first item is foods and beverages that have a lot of sugar in them. The sugar does not leave right away and ends up sitting in your mouth and eats away at the enamel. If you don’t brush your teeth afterward or if you brush them and miss a spot those sugars turn into acids. The acids then break down and cause decay in your mouth.
This is one of the reasons why brushing your teeth thoroughly is so important. This removed any plaque that is in your mouth. The longer the sugars and food debris sick in your mouth, the more chance there is or bacteria getting into your mouth and start breaking down the tooth. If you go to the dentist on a regular basis, they are able to see if there are any signs of early decay and catch it before it becomes an issue.
If you begin getting a cavity this is called demineralization. This is when the sugars begin to attack the tooth enamel. You may notice stains on your teeth which is a sign that the calcium in your tooth is going away. If you notice this, you should get a prescribed toothpaste, make sure you change your diet and incorporate more dairy into your diet.
If your tooth has already gone past this point it is called decay. This is when erosion starts to take place. The decay has broken the surface and you may need a filling to help to restore the tooth. One of the major signs this is happening is tooth sensitivity. If you experience this, it’s important to contact your dentist right away.
If your tooth is passed this stage already it is called dentin decay. This means that your tooth is probably hurting, and the decay is not hitting a nerve. They are hitting the root which is causing destruction on the layers below your enamel. You will need a larger filling or an inlay. This step can depend a lot on the size of the cavity. If it is larger, a crown may be needed.
If your cavity has gone past that step it is called pulpal decay. This means your tooth really is causing you quite a bit of pain. You know longer think something may be wrong, you know something must be wrong. A root canal will be needed to get rid of the bacteria. After the root canal, a follow-up appointment is needed to ensure the healing process is going smoothly.
The final stage that has to happen if your cavity goes untreated is called access formation. This is when the pulp is damaged and there is an infection around the pulp and bone. If you are at this step, it is probably painful and even swollen. If you do go to the dentist regularly, they will catch the issue before it becomes this severe.
In order to get rid of this, you will need a root canal and you even may need surgery to drain it. You will be put on antibiotics and the tooth will no longer be able to stay in and need to come out. If you want to fill in the gap a dental implant is a good option for you.
All of this may sound scary, but it’s so important to take care of your teeth and gums. Little diet changes like swapping out soda to water can really make a huge difference. Always make sure to brush your teeth twice per day and floss daily. If you are seeing the dentist every 6 months and doing all these steps you will have a much healthier mouth overall.
If you are experiencing any pain in your mouth or think you may have a cavity, it’s important that you see a dentist as quickly as possible. They may be able to save your tooth or fix the issue before it becomes more severe. Contact us today to learn more and to schedule an appointment.