What Causes Cavities?

Cavities, commonly known as tooth decay, occur when the tooth enamel breaks down and fails to protect the inner layers of the tooth. Most commonly, this is the result of bacteria present in the mouth that break down food. These bacteria produce an acid that eats away at tooth enamel. Teeth affected by tooth decay are typically discolored, can be painful and are at a greater risk for breakage than healthy teeth.

Tooth decay is largely preventable due to the presence of fluoride in public water sources. Fluoride works to strengthen and protect teeth. Good brushing habits combined with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing are the front lines of defense against tooth decay.

Children ages 6 to 19 are most at risk for cavities, especially at the younger ages, due to poor brushing habits. Parents can decrease the risk of cavities in children by encouraging good brushing habits and taking children for regular dental cleanings and checkups. Your dentist may also recommend sealants which can fill tiny crevices in teeth and protect them from future decay.

How Are Cavities Treated?

When a cavity occurs, early treatment is best. Most cavities are caught during routine dental hygiene appointments, either by physical or visual examination or by x-rays. If a cavity is detected, we will recommend a filling to treat the decayed area.

A filling is a simple process that can be conducted within a single office visit. No special preparation is necessary for the appointment. The dentist will begin by gently removing the decayed material and cleaning the area. The dentist will then fill the cavity with composite resin materials. The filling will seal the tooth and protect it from further decay.

If the decay is extensive or has reached the nerve, the tooth may already be cracked or weakened and a filling may not be feasible. Your dentist may recommend a root canal to remove the damaged nerves and a crown to stabilize the tooth.

At Feels Like Family Dentistry, we treat patients of all ages with skill and care. We recommend semi-annual cleanings and examinations to ward off cavities and promote positive oral health. Contact our office today to make an appointment. We are looking forward to treating you.

Everyone is warm, personable, gentle, and very concerned with the patients care. Little things show a lot of heart – like recognizing me immediately
when I walked in, double checking that I was comfortable during the procedure, and taking extra time to adjust something for my comfort. 

Robert I., patient since 2016