Treating CavitiesFrom overconsumption of sugary foods to poor oral hygiene to plain old genetics, various factors contribute to the formation of cavities. Ultimately, cavities are caused by plaque buildup on the teeth, which damages the enamel and forms holes in the teeth known as cavities.
Some Nashville patients may be entirely unaware they have a cavity, since cavities sometimes have no symptoms. Other times, in more advanced cases, patients will experience pain and can even see visible holes in the teeth.
This is why regular dentist visits are so important to your oral health. Typically, most cavities are discovered during routine dental exams, while they are still in their earliest and most treatable stage.
Depending on the particular stage and severity of your cavity, different cosmetic dentistry treatment options are available.
Treatments for Cavities
- Fillings: The most common treatment for cavities, fillings, involve your dentist numbing the area in which the cavity is located, removing the decayed tooth material with a drill, and replacing, or “filling”, the affected tooth with either metal, porcelain, or a composite resin material filling. Most dentists currently prefer porcelain or composite resin fillings since they are most natural looking and blend well with the surrounding teeth.
- Dental crowns: Dental crowns are used in more extreme cavity cases in which decay is extensive and the tooth structure has been compromised, causing your tooth to become weak and increasing the risk of it breaking. The dental crown process involves your dentist numbing the treated area, removing the decayed tooth portion, and fitting a gold or porcelain crown over the remaining area of the tooth. Doing so provides the tooth with a renewed strength that can’t be attained with a straightforward filling.
- Root Canal: Root canals are often “last resort” filling procedures that are used only when the nerve of the tooth has died and is unsalvageable. The procedure entails numbing the affected area, removing all the contents in the center of the tooth, including the nerve, pulp, and all decayed portions. The root of the tooth is then filled with a sealing material, and a dental crown is often placed over the entire tooth.
Tips for Preventing CavitiesFortunately, these painful cavity treatments can often be avoided all together simply by following a few simple oral hygiene rules:
- Brush twice daily and floss once daily. Brush more often if you consume foods and drinks that are high in sugar.
- Use a fluoride rinse or toothpaste, which can help prevent and even reverse the tooth decay that leads to cavities.
- Talk to your dentist about dental sealants, which are plastic coatings placed on the teeth to help prevent them from decaying.