What's A Cavity?
Simply put, a cavity is a hole that forms in your tooth. Cavities start off small but tend to get progressively bigger until they're treated. You might not even be aware that you have a cavity at first, especially if it's affecting a back tooth. That's because they can be hard to spot and because any cavity pain or discomfort usually only happens in the later stages, once the cavity gets close to the nerve.
The sad part about cavities is that they cause permanent damage. Your teeth won't repair themselves on their own, so to fix the problem you have to see your dentist. At Chapel Hill Dental we repair cavities on a regular basis.
But why do cavities happen in the first place? The answer is plaque, that gooey substance that's in your mouth. Plaque is filled with germs that create acids, and over time those acids eat away at your enamel.
Do you have a cavity that is causing you pain?
The Most Common Symptoms of a Cavity
- A toothache with no obvious explanation
- Black or brown spots on the tooth
- Sensitivity to sweets, and sensitivity to hot or cold
- Noticeable holes in your enamel
Tips For Preventing Cavities
Brushing: The best way of preventing cavities is by brushing your teeth. When you brush, you help remove the plaque before it has time to eat away at your enamel. Ideally you would brush after every meal, but at minimum you should aim for brushing once in the morning and again before bed. Using fluoride toothpaste provides the added bonus of remineralizing your enamel, making them stronger and more resistant to the harmful plaque.
Eating Well: We've all heard that eating sweets is the surest way of developing cavities. That's because the plaque bacteria converts the sugar in your mouth into acids that break down your enamel. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables promote saliva production, and saliva is good at washing away sugar and other food particles before the plaque can make use of them. Drinking water or unsweetened tea or coffee can be helpful too at keeping your mouth clean.
Regular Dental Visits: Brushing at home is great, but it doesn't replace coming in to see us for your regular cleanings. Our hygienists at Chapel Hill Dental have the tools and skills needed to clean those hard to reach areas of your mouth, and your dentist can spot cavities early on and stop them before they turn into bigger problems.
Cavities are treated by way of fillings. A filling can restore the affected tooth to its normal shape, size, and strength. And depending on which material is used, a filled tooth can be made to look just like your other teeth.
If your cavity is still in its early stages and you'd like to stop its progression, talk to your dentist about Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF). SDF is a new, non-invasive tool that became available to Canadian dentists as of 2017.