Dental News

Get Answers to the Three Most Common Questions About Cavities and How They Are Treated

July 3, 2024

Most people have heard of cavities, but not everyone knows what they are or how to treat them. Here, we answer the three most common questions about cavities. If you think you have a cavity or another dental issue, contact California Dental Group at (800) 407-0161 to schedule an appointment.

What is a Cavity?

Patients frequently ask, “What exactly is a cavity?” Simply put, a cavity occurs when a tooth decays or breaks down. The term “cavity” refers to the hole or empty space created when the tooth material deteriorates. Cavities can range from small areas of decay to larger holes in the teeth.

What Causes Cavities?

Many believe that cavities are solely caused by eating too much junk food. While sugary foods do contribute to cavities, so do carbohydrates. Here’s how cavities develop:

  • Sugar and Carbs: Both stick to your teeth and convert to acid.
  • Plaque Formation: This acid forms plaque, which erodes tooth enamel over time.
  • Cavity Development: As enamel breaks down, cavities form, creating holes in the teeth.

Plaque not only causes cavities but can also lead to gum disease and bad breath.

How Can Cavities Be Prevented?

Preventing cavities involves a combination of dietary choices and oral hygiene practices:

  • Healthy Diet: Avoid junk foods high in sugar and carbs. Opt for fruits, vegetables, and foods rich in essential vitamins and minerals. For instance, Vitamin C helps reduce gum inflammation.
  • Oral Hygiene: Brush at least twice daily and floss daily to remove food particles and plaque.
  • Regular Dental Visits: Schedule cleanings every six months so your dentist can catch and treat issues early.

How Are Cavities Treated?

If you have a cavity, it’s crucial to get it treated promptly to prevent further decay and potential tooth loss. Here are common treatments for cavities:

  • Fillings: The most common treatment where the decayed material is removed and filled with a dental material.
  • Crowns: Used for more severe decay, a crown covers and protects the damaged tooth.
  • Root Canals: If the decay reaches the tooth’s pulp, a root canal may be necessary to remove the infected material and save the tooth.
  • Extractions: In extreme cases where the tooth cannot be saved, it may need to be extracted.

The Importance of Timely Treatment

Prompt treatment of cavities is essential for maintaining oral health:

  • Prevent Further Decay: Early treatment prevents the cavity from worsening.
  • Avoid Pain: Untreated cavities can lead to toothaches and infections.
  • Maintain Overall Health: Oral health is linked to overall health; untreated cavities can lead to other health issues.

What Happens During a Dental Visit for Cavities?

When you visit the dentist for a cavity, here’s what you can expect:

  • Initial Examination: The dentist will examine your teeth and take X-rays to determine the extent of the decay.
  • Treatment Plan: Based on the examination, the dentist will recommend the appropriate treatment, whether it’s a filling, crown, or another procedure.
  • Procedure: The decayed part of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is restored with a filling, crown, or other dental material.
  • Follow-Up Care: The dentist will provide instructions on how to care for your teeth after the procedure to prevent future cavities.

Contact a Dental Professional

While it’s important to prevent cavities through good oral hygiene and a healthy diet, it’s equally important to address any existing cavities promptly. Contact California Dental Group at (800) 407-0161 to schedule an appointment for a dental cleaning and exam. Our team will assess your teeth, provide the necessary treatment, and help you maintain a healthy smile.

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