Tooth decay, or cavities, occur when specific types of bacteria produce acid that destroys the tooth’s enamel and its underlying layer, the dentin.
Cavity causing plaque
Many different types of bacteria live in our mouths and build up on the teeth in a sticky film called dental plaque. The foods we eat and liquids we drink, feed these bacteria creating acids that can dissolve the protective layer beneath this plaque. The acid removes minerals from the enamel that if left untreated can cause a cavity. Decay begins in the main portion of the tooth (the enamel) and as the enamel is broken down the decay can go deeper into the dentin and can eventually reach the nerve (pulp) of the tooth.
Do you have a cavity?
There are three possible indications that you have a cavity - toothache, tooth sensitivity to sweet, hot or cold foods or drinks, and pain when chewing.
If left untreated, a cavity will cause the tooth to decay significantly. Eventually, uncontrolled decay may destroy the tooth completely. There is also the risk of developing an infection or abscess if the infection spreads to the root of the tooth. Different types of bacteria in plaque retained near the gum line can also cause gum disease to occur.
Prevention with a good oral health routine that includes brushing and flossing daily can help reduce the amount of dental plaque and bacteria in your mouth thereby limiting your risk of cavities. Professional teeth cleaning is effective at eliminating the bacteria that regular tooth brushing cannot. Other preventative measures include eating fewer sugary or starchy foods during the day, the use of fluoride toothpaste or fluoride treatments by a dentist, using antibacterial mouth rinses, and chewing gum that contains xylitol as it can help decrease bacterial growth.
What do you do if you suspect you have a cavity?
If you are concerned that you may have a cavity, schedule a check-up with a Calgary dentist who can examine the tooth surface and take an x-ray to see if the cavity has gone from the enamel into the dentin or pulp of the tooth. If a cavity is found, a local anesthetic will be applied to the area around the tooth being worked on and then a drill or laser is used to remove the decayed portion of the tooth. Your tooth is then repaired with your choice of a dental filling that when hardened, is sculpted to resemble the original shape of your tooth’s surface.
Abougoush Family Dental Care offers an array of dental services including but not limited to professional teeth cleaning, root canals, teeth whitening and even Botox! If you are interested in teeth cleaning services in Calgary or for advice for your long-term dental health call us at 403-289-7370 today.