FAQ: Tooth Cavities

tooth cavity filling columbusYou just can’t downplay how important teeth are to our everyday life. We use them to chew the food which nourishes our bodies and helps us grow strong and stay healthy. They also make up our smile which is an enormous part of making a good first impression we make whenever we meet new people. Humans have two sets of teeth in their lives: their baby teeth and their adult teeth. And once you have your adult teeth, usually by twelve or thirteen, it’s vital to take care of them as you won’t be getting any new ones naturally (except wisdom teeth but that’s another story). The most common threat to the health and lifespan of your teeth are cavities.

What Is A Cavity?

Cavities are another name for spots of tooth decay that form when our tooth enamel has weakened and broken open, exposing the sensitive soft tissues and nerves within. This exposes  your tooth, creating sensitivity to temperature and touch and even painful infections. Cavities can limit your dietary options and prevent you from getting all the nutrients you need. Cavities are the most frequently diagnosed illness that humans suffer from after the common cold. But what causes this omnipresent threat to our smiles? What can we do to fix them? And what can we do to prevent them in the first place?  Dr. Albert Caves of Caves Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Columbus, GA has the answers.

How Do Cavities Form?

Our mouths are home to millions of live bacteria, most of which are relatively harmless to us. These bacteria tend to concentrate and consume the plaque that forms on our teeth. The places that are hard for us to clean such as in between teeth and right at the gum line are especially vulnerable. When we eat foods that contain carbohydrates such as sugars (like in donuts and candy) or starches (like in potato chips), the bacteria in our mouths break these components down. This creates acids that bind to the plaque already on our teeth and eat away at their enamel.

How Are Cavities Treated?

Cavities are usually treated by your dentist with fillings. In this process the holes or weakened areas in tooth enamel are reinforced with various substances. This stops the process of decay by denying any further bacteria and acids access to the weak part of the tooth. Fillings can be made of composite resin, amalgamated metals, gold, silver or glass ionomer. Dr. Caves will consult with you to decide which route would work best for your teeth.   

Preventing Cavities

As with many things, it’s easier to take care of something than to fix it once it breaks. It’s the same with your cavities. Brushing after meals or at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste is recommended to remove the plaque that may have formed. Dentists also recommend cutting down on carbohydrates and keeping yourself properly hydrated. A dry mouth can accelerate the acidic breakdown of your teeth. Daily flossing helps remove the plaque and prevent the formation of cavities in those hard to reach places between your teeth. The most important thing you can do to prevent cavities is attend regular check-ups and cleanings at your dentist’s office. For those patients in Columbus, GA area, call (706) 407-4851 or schedule an appointment online to consult with Dr. Caves at Caves Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. If you think you might have a cavity or would just like a cleaning to prevent them, contact us today!