What is a cavity?
A cavity, also known as a carious tooth, is a tooth whose enamel has been destroyed by tooth decay. Decay forms as a result of prolonged exposure to sugars and starches.
How should I prevent getting cavities?
Cavities and tooth decay can be prevented by adpoting a preventative dental program. The following tips are strongly recommended to ensure proper oral hygiene and to prevent cavities:
- Brush your teeth and gums at least twice a day, specifically in the morning and just before bedtime. Be sure to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, an element that is very beneficial for your teeth and helps to ward off cavities.
- Floss daily.
- Be aware of your food choices, and try to stay away from lots of sugar and chewing gum.
- Visit your dentist regularly for teeth cleaning appointments, and ask your dentist about the possibilty of sealants as an additional way to prevent cavities.
How common are cavities?
A cavity, caused by tooth decay, is one of the most common occuring disorders in the world, second only to the common cold. However, whereas a common cold can strike almost anyone, cavities can be easily prevented by following a preventative dental program, outlined above.
What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky bacteria-filled film that constantly covers your teeth. Lack of proper brushing can cause a build-up of plaque which creates an adhesive for sugars in food to stick to your teeth, ultimately causing decay and cavities.
What are some symptoms or warning signs that I may have a cavity?
Cavities may cause a toothache that continues throughout the day, or it may create more of a tooth sensitivity, for instance after drinking something hot or cold, or after inhaling. Also, cavities may sometimes be visible, showing pits or discoloration in the teeth. Cavities are not always visible though, so you should not wait until the last minute to go to the dentist if you think you might have a cavity. Should you suspect that you have a cavity, please call our offices at 713.795.5905 immediately to prevent further pain associated with your cavity.
How will my dentist take care of my cavity?
Your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and replace it with a restorative material, typically porcelain or composite resin to match the tooth color. This is called a "filling". This will stop your cavity from progressing any further.
What happens if I do not get treatment for my cavity?
Although the damage to your tooth caused by cavities cannot be reversed, the progression of cavities can be stopped by having your dentist fill the tooth. If a cavity is gone untreated, much more expensive and time-consuming surgery must be performed, such as receiving a crown or a root canal. Also, more painful problems can arise, such as abcesses, gingivitis, and other related problems throughout the entire body. The best thing to do if you suspect that you have a cavity is to schedule an appointment with your dentist at our offices at 713.795.5905.
I'm not sure I have a cavity. How will my dentist be able to tell for sure?
When you suspect that you might have a cavity, schedule an appointment to see your dentist. First your dentist will prod your teeth with a small tool to see if there are any places where the tool sticks, suggesting that there may be a cavity. Then your dentist will refer to your X-rays to confirm that you do in fact have a cavity. In fact, some cavities may be discovered by your dentist before there is any discomfort or visibility, in which case your dentist can fill the cavity before any significant tooth decay can progress.
In closing, it is very important that you schedule an appointment to see your dentist right away if you suspect that you may have a cavity, as further problems may arise if left untreated. Please call our offices at 713.795.5905 to address your concerns.
The Medical Center Dental Group
Dr. Dale Brant, Dr. Charles Campbell, and Dr. Elizabeth O'Sullivan-Winslow
Cosmetic Dentistry is a specialized field that requires extensive knowledge and experience to be done correctly. The Medical Center Dental Group in Houston, Texas brings all of that and more to the direct benefit of each and every patient we treat. Although we are located in the world famous Houston Medical Center at Scurlock Towers, we routinely see dental patients who travel from Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Beaumont and Midland Texas to see Dr. Dale Brant, Dr. Charles Campbell or Dr. Elizabeth OSullivan-Winslow for their cosmetic denistry services.
For any other questions related to cosmetic dentistry, you can Contact Us at 713.795.5905, visit our Dental Blog or Ask the Dentist.