Tooth cavities are one of the most common dental problems affecting both children and adults. Also known as dental caries, it may begin with no symptoms at all but can lead to more complex dental problems, including tooth loss when left untreated.
A persistent lack of oral hygiene and routine dental care causes tooth decay. To help protect your oral health, be sure to visit your dentist in Indianapolis at least twice a year for a dental health checkup and professional teeth cleaning.
Preventive dental care, performed during routine visits with Dr. Stevens in his Greenwood family dentist office, is the foundation for lifelong oral health and the prevention of tooth decay and tooth cavities. Brushing and flossing are the ideal ways to help maintain your oral health in between routine visits and can help prevent tooth decay and other oral diseases.
Patients with higher rates of tooth decay are more prone to developing gum disease and tooth loss.
Treatment For Tooth Cavities
If you have a tooth cavity or if your teeth show signs of decay, your dentist may recommend several general dentistry treatments. We will restore your teeth to proper health and minimize the risk of further tooth decay. A thorough dental exam with X-rays allows us to discover all cavities and create a treatment plan.
A dental filling is usually the first line of treatment for a tooth cavity. Beautiful Smiles in Greenwood is a mercury-free practice. Dr. Stevens has elected to offer resin tooth-colored fillings due to the benefits they offer for both dental health and appearance:
- aesthetically pleasing because they closely match the natural color of teeth
- bond (or adhere) to tooth surfaces, creating a strong, lasting restoration (they effectively become one with the tooth.)
- wear and function like a natural tooth
- result in less sensitivity
- contain fluoride that is released into the tooth structure, helping strengthen the tooth.
What causes a tooth cavity?
Diet and hygiene are two of the biggest factors contributing to tooth cavities. Plaque is constantly forming in the mouth. When it interacts with sugar or starch from the food and drink we consume, it cultivates bacteria, attacking the tooth enamel. With time, the bacteria erode tooth enamel, making the tooth vulnerable to cavity formation.
Brushing once a day and flossing is the best way to prevent cavities. In addition, you should maintain a healthy diet that includes plenty of water, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Limit the number of sodas and candy in your diet to avoid cavities.
Tooth Cavities FAQs
Do cavities have to be treated immediately?
Get tooth decay treatment as soon as possible. This is because tooth decay will not simply go away. Actually, it will continue to eat away at the tooth and grow larger and larger. Eventually, decay can lead to serious damage, including an infection that requires a root canal. A simple dental filling is fairly inexpensive. It prevents further damage and should be completed as soon as possible.
Should I go to the dentist if I see a hole in my tooth?
Yes. If you can visibly see a hole in your tooth, that is a dental cavity. Even if you are not experiencing pain, you must seek out treatment as soon as possible. Ignoring the hole puts you at risk for infection that could require a root canal or extraction if it is ignored long enough.
How is tooth decay treated?
The main treatment option for tooth decay is dental fillings. Dr. Stevens will remove all signs of decay and then fill the space with a filling material. This prevents the damage from worsening and also strengthens the tooth. If the decay has affected a larger portion of the tooth, he may choose to use a dental inlay or onlay. Advanced decay requires a tooth cap. This involves placing a dental crown over the tooth. A dental crown completely encases the tooth, protecting it from further damage.
How many cavities can I get filled in one visit?
You can technically get as many cavities filled as you’d like. However, we usually don’t recommend that you get more than three done in one sitting. Even if you think you can handle getting more, your mouth needs time to heal and adjust after so many cavities are taken care of.
Is it normal to get multiple dental cavities in my life?
Tooth cavities are one of the most common health issues that people will experience throughout their lifetime. Almost everyone will get at least one cavity in their life, even when practicing good oral hygiene. The average American has around three fillings currently in their mouth. Even if you take care of your teeth, things like genetics can also play a part in how many cavities you’ll get.
How do I know if I have a cavity?
There are multiple warning signs for developing a cavity. One of the most common is a toothache, especially if you notice your tooth is especially sensitive to heat or cold. Tooth decay can have visible effects on your teeth, too. If you notice any discoloration, particularly dark spots, that’s a sign there’s an issue. You may experience bad breath and a weird taste in your mouth, as the bacteria for tooth decay are different than the normal bacteria in your mouth. Cavities at the gumline can cause swelling and redness around that particular tooth, too.
Schedule a Dental Exam with our Family Dentist in Greenwood, IN
Tooth decay affects children and adult patients. Beautiful Smiles serves the greater Indianapolis area and offers comprehensive dental care for you and your whole family. Our family dentist office provides attentive, modern dentistry to help patients maintain their optimal oral health for beautiful, healthy smiles.
We welcome new and returning patients to our Greenwood, IN family dentist office. To request an appointment, call our office at (317) 886-4512 or request an appointment online.