A tooth with a cavity has a small hole in it. If left untreated, the decay will spread and cause severe structural damage to the tooth. The decayed portion of the tooth needs to be removed and replaced with a filling to prevent this from happening.
While enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it can still develop holes or fractures from trauma or chewing on hard items like candy and ice. The softer pulp layer inside a tooth can also become infected due to broken teeth or long-term decay. These cavities need to be treated as soon as possible to prevent them from spreading and causing damage to the surrounding teeth and tissues.
When a cavity is discovered during a routine checkup and cleaning, our general dentist at Osuna Dental Care, will administer the appropriate treatment to return the tooth to total health and prevent the spread of infection. During a dental exam, the dentist will use a small mirror to examine each tooth from the inside out. This allows them to detect any slight irregularities in the structure of a tooth that could indicate the presence of disease. X-rays can also help identify areas of tooth decay that may be hidden from the naked eye.
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that coats the tooth's surface, causing cavities. When you don’t brush or floss your teeth after eating a meal, it is more likely that the leftover food particles will stick to the teeth. These particles fuel the bacteria to produce acid, breaking down your tooth enamel and causing cavities. Eating foods high in sugar, such as candy, cookies, ice cream, sodas, and sports drinks, also increases your risk of developing cavities.
A cavity is typically treated with a tooth-colored filling or dental crown. Inlays and onlays are used when the cavity is more significant, and crowns are an option when the entire tooth is damaged. Your dentist will work with you to determine the best treatment option for your smile. Many patients choose white fillings because they are attractive and blend in with teeth. Tooth-colored restorations are also durable enough to last for several years. Your dentist can place the filling during a single office visit. In addition, tooth-colored fillings preserve a more natural tooth structure than metal restorations.
By visiting your dentist at the first sign of a cavity, you can prevent the need for more severe treatment in the future. For the best dental care, visit Osuna Dental Care at 5900 Cubero Dr NE suite B, Albuquerque, NM 87109, or call (505) 884-1989.