It is highly likely that you will have to deal with a tooth cavity at some point in your life. While cavities are a particularly prevalent in children and adolescents, they can also affect adults. Regular visits to the dentist can stop cavities before they start.
What Causes Tooth Cavities
Tooth cavities, also called dental caries by dentists, are a sign of tooth decay. This problem is accelerated by plaque and tarter build up. When plaque comes in contact with sugars and starches from foods, it produces acid, which can damage tooth enamel over time and lead to tooth decay.
Tooth Cavity Symptoms
Annapolis, MD dentists Dr. Finlay and Dr. Lim can identify dental cavities before most patients experience symptoms, so it is important to maintain regular dental check-ups.
At appropriate intervals, digital dental x-rays can identify problems at a very early stage, which will minimize treatment needs. In advanced stages of tooth decay, you might experience:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
- Visible holes or pits in the teeth
- Soreness around the gums
Tooth Cavity Treatment
If you already have cavities or if your teeth are showing signs of decay, Dr. Finlay offers a range of general dentistry services to restore stability to the tooth and provide protection from future damage or decay.
- Composite Dental Fillings – Composite fillings are placed in a single visit and are used to treat teeth with minor tooth decay. This material is made of resin and reinforced with quartz particles that gives the illusion of a natural tooth. Composite fillings are used to blend in with your natural teeth. We can also replace old metal fillings with these more aesthetically please white fillings.
- Porcelain Dental Fillings – Called inlays or onlays, these types of restorations are generally used when there is more significant tooth decay. When a large area of a tooth is damaged by a tooth cavity that has developed in the deep crevice of the tooth, a porcelain filling is the appropriate treatment. It is more conservative than a tooth extraction but more secure than a traditional tooth filling.
- Root Canal – If the tooth decay has advanced and spread into the pulp chamber, this will cause the pulp to become infected. In this case, you will likely need a root canal. This procedure is the best way to treat a diseased tooth and avoid an extraction. If you treat a cavity with a simple tooth filling when it is first detected, it will likely not progress into an infection that requires a root canal.
Dental Cavities are Highly Preventable
The best way to prevent dental cavities is to adhere to a strict daily oral care routine. This includes brushing your teeth and flossing on a daily basis. You also must visit Dr. Finlay’s dentist office at least two times a year for a routine check up and teeth cleaning. Having your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year will remove plaque from hard to reach places on the teeth.
If you are experiencing tooth pain and suspect you have a tooth cavity, contact Scott Finlay, DDS & Associates, PA for a consultation and examination.
Call our Annapolis, MD dentist office at 410.989.7132 or request an appointment online.