You’ve probably been hearing all about cavities since you’ve been a kid. Your parents told you to avoid sugar, your dentist tells you to brush your teeth, and you likely hear that you should floss from everywhere! But what do cavities actually do to your teeth?
At Fairhope Cosmetic Dentistry we get a lot of patients who are suffering from tooth decay – it affects almost everyone in the world at some point! Cavities can usually be managed well if they are caught early but it’s the long-term ones that really cause problems for you and your oral health!
We want to talk about cavities in the long term today. It’s important to see the dentist on a regular basis so you can be sure your teeth stay happy and healthy!
The Cause Of Tooth Decay
Don’t roll your eyes – the cause of tooth decay is sugar! Well, sugar is one component of tooth decay. You might notice the white film that builds up on your teeth during the day: that’s plaque. Plaque is made up of countless bacteria that just LOVE to eat sugar. When they eat it they produce acids that eat away at the enamel of your teeth. That’s the start of tooth decay.
Without treatment those tiny spots of lost enamel will become safe spots for bacteria. They’ll continue to eat away at you teeth as long as you provide them with sugar!
The Earliest Stages
Once bacteria gets into the surface of your teeth it will keep feeding on sugars and going deeper and deeper. Bacteria likes to avoid your toothbrush and will dig itself a hole pretty quickly, which poses an extra problem: you can’t always see it from the surface!
Early stage cavities appear small, sometimes as small as the head of a pin. Those tiny spots can hide large cavities under the surface of your teeth and they can keep getting larger and deeper without you even knowing! This is one of the big reasons tooth decay often goes unnoticed until it’s too late!
It Just Gets Worse!
As tooth decay continues to get worse cavities go deeper and deeper into your teeth. If left untreated they’ll eventually reach the inner portion of your tooth, called the dental pulp. This is where the nerves and blood vessels that connect your tooth to you body live and if they start to be affected by tooth decay you’ll notice a serious toothache!
At this point you’ll probably need a root canal, which removes all of the dental pulp from your tooth. Without it decay will continue to spread and can eventually reach other teeth, your jaw bone, and even your bloodstream! Decay that gets into your blood can carry bacteria all over your body!
Continued tooth decay can cause you to lose the infected tooth, which can lead to a chain reaction of tooth loss! And just think: it could have all been prevented with good home care and regular dental cleanings and exams!
Treating Tooth Decay
Cavities are almost entirely preventable. Brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings are a key part of preventing tooth decay, which is always preferable to treating it once it has already happened!
For cavities that need fixing we offer tooth-colored fillings that will perfectly match the color of your smile. Unlike metal fillings that can fall out, wear down, and look ugly tooth-colored composite fillings protect your teeth by bonding well and looking completely natural! Composite fillings act more like your natural teeth and are a vastly better option.
We want to help you have a healthy, happy smile that never needs expensive and inconvenient dental restorations. If you’re concerned about the health of your teeth then don’t delay care – come see us at Fairhope Cosmetic Dentistry today!
You can reach us by phone at (251) 210-7142 or you can request an appointment online by filling out our convenient online form! We look forward to seeing you soon!