If you’ve been keeping up with our recent blogs, you might have remembered our discussion about cavities caused by poor nutrition. We said that even adults can get cavities and should be mindful of how proper hygiene and diet can prevent cavities (read the blog here).
Today we want to talk a little bit more about cavities and how preventing them can save you a lot of pain—and potentially a lot of money! And who doesn’t want that?
Let’s start off by diving deeper into what exactly cavities, or tooth decay, are and what costly problems they can lead to.
Cavities: A Deeper Look at Tooth Decay
A cavity occurs when your tooth decays to the point that it eats away at your enamel, or the protective outer layer of your tooth. This hard layer is the first of three layers that can be affected by tooth decay as it continues destructing its way deeper into your tooth.
When you let sugar from food and drinks sit on your teeth for too long, some of the bacteria in your mouth feeds off of it to form bacterial plaque, the rough, sticky substance that you can feel on the surface of your teeth. The plaque buildup eventually produces acid, which eats holes into your teeth!
Your back teeth, or molars, are more susceptible to cavities because they have a lot of grooves and indentations, so plaque can work its way into those nooks and crannies more easily.
According to the American Dental Association, cavities can cause other complications in adults because of the aging process, plus medications you might be taking have oral side effects that can increase your chances of developing tooth decay.
Fillings and Inlays/Onlays
If you catch tooth decay in its earliest stages, a great professional cleaning by your Marineland dental team can help halt its progress. If you wait longer, you may need to have your cavity filled. Traditional fillings can be used to fill cavities, but more natural-looking porcelain inlays or onlays can also be used, especially where the cavity is deeper or has caused more damage.
These are procedures that your Marineland dental team can perform to protect you from further decay, but remember that prevention is the best way to keep tooth decay at bay! We also encourage you to practice good hygiene and come for regular cleanings so that you can PREVENT tooth decay!
As you age, fillings that you received when you were younger can begin to deteriorate, leaving openings that bacteria can get trapped in. This can lead to more tooth decay. Here at Marineland Dental Care, we can help replace your fillings with better alternatives to protect you from further decay.
Tooth-Root Decay and Root Canals
If you allow tooth decay to progress, it will work its way into the next, softer layer of your tooth, the dentin, which doesn’t protect your teeth from acid as much as enamel does. You may begin to notice pain, discomfort, and toothaches at this point.
If the decay continues its pathway to destruction, your pulp, the soft innermost layer that contains your nerves, tissues, and blood vessels, will suffer the consequences. Now you’re looking at tooth-root decay!
When decay reaches this stage in your tooth roots, it can lead to an abscess, a pocket of pus filled with bacteria. Now your tooth is severely aching, is sensitive to hot and cold, and becomes inflamed! You may now need us to perform a root canal to remove the decay and seal the hole with a filling. We might also need to place a crown on your damaged tooth to protect what’s left.
Tooth Loss and Replacement
If deep decay isn’t taken care of with something like a root canal, you might even lose your teeth!
Losing your teeth not only has negative psychological effects on you, but it can also cause more physical side effects, like weakening your surrounding teeth and bone or leaving more space open for bacteria to fester. To keep your mouth healthy and prevent further damage, your Marineland dentist will discuss tooth restoration and replacement options with you.
We offer several options to restore and replace your teeth, including crowns, bridges, and implants. Dr. Hadley and his team will talk to you about the best options for restoring your teeth and damage done by tooth decay.
Your Marineland Dental Team Can Help You Save Money by Preventing Tooth Decay!
Certain things like gum disease can complicate tooth decay and make your problems worse. Take a look at our recent blog on gum disease so that you can help prevent this common yet potentially costly problem, too.
And give us a call to let us help you save money and pain by keeping tooth decay at bay! We’d love to see you for a preventative cleaning or help you if you are experiencing any signs of tooth decay. Don’t be embarrassed if you are—our Marineland dental team is here to help you! We’ll create a personalized plan for you to keep your mouth healthy in the future.