Has it been some time since you visited the dentist’s office for an oral exam? If so, you may be wondering what the process entails. The following will help you prepare for your visit and alleviate any anxiety you may be feeling.While all dentists differ in some ways, most will follow the same steps during…
Ask a Dentist: Can I Stop a Cavity From Getting Worse?
When it comes to dealing with a cavity, the dentist is your best friend. Cavities are holes that develop on a tooth's surfaces. They are caused by acids in the mouth, which are created by oral bacteria and those contained in foods and beverages you eat.
Teeth are designed to withstand the bombardment they constantly get from acids in the mouth, but excessive exposure can lead to the enamel (the outer layer of a tooth) becoming worn down. Once that occurs, the acids begin to eat away at the inner layers of the tooth, forming small holes. These holes will continue to expand until the tooth is completely damaged or the cavity is stopped.
The signs and symptoms that a person has a cavity include:
- Increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods
- Food getting stuck inside a tooth
- Bad breath
- Weird taste in the mouth
- Pain when chewing
How a dentist prevents a cavity from getting worse
When it comes to dealing with cavities, fillings are the first line of treatment. It is one of the more affordable treatments provided at any dental clinic and effectively stops cavities from expanding further. A filling is a material inserted into cavities and used to fill up the holes created by them.
During the procedure, the dentist will inject a local anesthetic to the area surrounding the tooth, then remove any decayed tooth matter around the cavity. The area is cleaned, and filling is applied directly to the cavity. It is molded as desired and hardens as it is exposed to air and saliva. Materials commonly used for fillings include silver amalgam, composites and ceramics.
2. Composite resins
Composite resins are becoming quite popular when it comes to fixing cavities. The dentist will select a composite that matches the color of the patient's real teeth, and it is applied to the tooth after an etching solution has been used to roughen it.
The composite is molded as desired and is hardened with a special light. With composites, it is virtually impossible to tell if a person has ever had a cavity.
Crowns are typically reserved for the worst types of cavities. It is often required when the patient fails to get treatment for the cavity. That leads to the cavity expanding to the point that it threatens the integrity of the tooth. If the dentist is worried that the tooth might eventually crumble when force is applied to it, they might opt to give the tooth extra protection with a crown.
Filling might be used to bulk up the tooth, then a crown is used to protect it and restore its appearance.
Do not let a cavity turn into something more serious
When left untreated, a cavity can completely destroy a tooth or lead to a compromised pulp chamber or an infection. Stop by our Los Gatos office if you are dealing with a cavity, and get the treatment you need.
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