Cavities, or a hole in your tooth, are the outcome of tooth decay.
Your dentist can help to identify early signs of decay during your check-up. We recommend coming in for a check-up every 6 months. An x-ray may be necessary to check that the decay has not gone through the enamel and into the tooth. Typically our dentists will advise a set of x-rays every 2 years but if they notice something suspicious, they might recommend taking one sooner.
If untreated, decay will continue until the tooth is completely destroyed. In extreme cases there is a risk of developing an abscess which is an infection that extends past the root of the tooth.
Tooth decay happens as the result of bacteria that produce acid which destroys the enamel and dentin layers which protect your teeth. The most obvious signs of cavities include sensitivity to sweet food, hot or cold, tooth aches and pain whilst chewing.
Avoiding consumption of sugary food during the day (between teeth cleans) will reduce the amount of damaging acid in your mouth. Antibacterial mouth rinses such as Listerine can also be effective in preventing cavities.
Prevention is the best method for avoiding cavities.
Brush your teeth twice daily and be sure to floss so that you get the hard to reach places. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste is also important. This will reduce the amount of bacteria living in your mouth.
Once a cavity has formed there are a number of treatment options.
If caught early enough the dentist may apply a sealant to the tooth surface to prevent further decay however if the decay has broken through the enamel then the tooth will need to be filled.
In the most serious of cases where the decay has continued down into the pulp of the tooth, a root canal therapy may be required. Discuss these options with your dentist.
There Are a Number of Treatment Options
In the most serious of cases where the decay has continued down into the pulp of the tooth, a root canal may be required. Discuss these options with your dentist.