If you want to avoid cavities, the good news is that it is possible. Preventive care, like regular brushing and flossing, can help you take such great care of your teeth that you won’t have to worry about receiving a bad dental diagnosis at your next appointment. But if you currently have a cavity, fear not. It is possible to bounce back from one. Restorative treatment like dental fillings have long made it possible to restore a smile, but modern alternatives to metal mean you won’t even have to sacrifice the beauty of your smile in order to do so! If you’ve spent time coping with pain in a tooth, or just want to know how to ace your next dental exam, your restorative dentist can help set you up for smile success.
How Cavities Happen
Cavities form when the plaque bacteria in your mouth calcify onto a tooth and begin to erode its enamel. Over time, this can cause the sensitive layer beneath the enamel, the dentin, to become exposed, which is what frequently causes sensitivity or pain, especially when eating or drinking hot or cold foods and beverages.
To prevent cavities, a number of steps are necessary to limit plaque buildup and to remove it promptly if it does develop. This includes steps that can be taken at-home, as well as regular dental visits.
How Cavities Are Treated
To treat a cavity, a dentist can usually clean and sanitize the area, then apply a dental filling. Modern fillings are often made of a tooth-colored resin, which bonds well with teeth and produces a more seamless restoration than metal alternatives.
The filling acts as a barrier against further decay, erosion, and can also help prevent infection. Left untreated, however, a cavity may progress into an infection. Infected teeth generally require more extensive treatment than those with a cavity in its early stage. Often an infected tooth will require root canal treatment to save the tooth, but eventually decay can make an extraction necessary.