Have you ever gone for a routine six-month dental checkup only to be told you have dental cavities? Well, you’re not alone.
You might wonder, what is a cavity anyway? Why does it require immediate attention? And how can I prevent getting one in the future? All of these questions and more will be answered in today’s article. Keep reading to learn more about cavities.
What’s a Cavity Anyway?
According to the American Dental Association, a cavity is a hole in your tooth caused by tooth decay. A cavity happens as enamel (the outer layer of your tooth) becomes damaged and begins to affect the dentin (the part of your tooth that lies below the dentin). A cavity can range in size and typically forms on the tops of or in between your teeth. A cavity is more common for children, but you become more susceptible to cavities as you age, and your teeth and gums begin to age as well.
Signs of Dental Cavities
For many dental patients, not knowing you have a cavity is relatively normal. In fact, most people don’t suspect they have a cavity, but instead, a dentist can tell from x-rays and an examination of your teeth. However, this doesn’t mean that all cavities go unnoticed. Here are some signs that you’re developing or already have a cavity:
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
- Pain when your bite down
- Black, brown, or white staining on the tooth
- A pit or hole that you can feel in your teeth
Getting a Cavity Filled
Unfortunately, once a cavity is developed, there’s no getting rid of it without the proper dental work. When your dentist lets you know you have one or more dental cavities, they will want to schedule an appointment for a filling immediately. Getting a filling is a prevalent dental procedure that dentists perform every day. The process consists of numbing the area in preparation for the procedure. Dentists often use a topical numbing agent then use a shot of novocaine to numb the area of the affected tooth. After you’re numb, the dentist will drill out the tooth decay, then sterilize and fill the cavity. It’s a reasonably fast procedure, and thanks to the numbing treatment, it’s completely painless.
Additionally, for dental patients who are anxious about receiving treatment, you can request laughing gas and other sedated options if you’re not comfortable being awake.
Preventing Future Cavities
There are lots of steps you can take to protect your teeth from forming a cavity. First, and more importantly, you must take care of your teeth at home with regular brushing and flossing, which prevents tooth decay and gum disease. Other things you can do are:
- Visit your dentist regularly, every six months to be exact
- Consider adding fluoride treatments to your regular dental visits
- Avoiding sugary and acidic foods and drinks that can cause tooth decay
- Using a mouth rinse that contains fluoride as part of your brushing and flossing routine
- Consider getting dental sealants for your teeth that may be on “cavity watch”
Head to Oak Hills Dentistry for Your Family Dentistry Needs
If you suspect dental cavities or are looking for a new dentist, look no further than Oak Hills Dentistry in Layton, Utah. We believe in providing top-of-the-line dental care with a gentle touch that is sure to make everyone in the family feel comfortable at our office. Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment with one of our outstanding dentists!