What Causes Cavities and How They’re Treated
Cavities occur as a result of tooth decay. Tooth decay is the destruction of tooth structure. The outer coating (enamel) and the inner layer (dentin)may both be affected by tooth decay. The remaining food particles between your teeth cause the tooth decay condition. The bacteria that resides in your mouth digests these food particles and turns them into acid. This acid, combined with saliva and food debris, results in plaque.
Who Can Get a Cavity?
People often think that cavities only affect children, but changes that occur with aging make cavities an adult condition too. Another condition called gingivitis can pull the gum tissueaway from the teeth. This condition will expose tooth roots to plaque. High consumption of sugary food can also make anyone more vulnerable to cavity condition.
Among older people, decay can also occur around the edges of fillings. Over the years, these fillings may weaken and can fracture, which allows bacteria to accumulate.
- Cavities can affect both older people and children.
- People with fillings in their teeth are more vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities.
- Tooth decay results in cavities, which can destroy the teeth.
Some Symptoms of Cavities
You may discover your cavity during your regular dental checkup. The surface of the tooth will feel softer as your dentist probes it with a dental instrument. X-ray images might show you cavities between your teeth before they become visible to eyes. You can also experience toothache in advanced stages of tooth decay. After consuming sweet, hot, or cold foods, you may develop a toothache. These are the signs of dental cavities, and, if you see any of these symptoms, you should consult with your dentist. Look for:
- Softer tooth surface
- Visible pits or holes in the teeth
- X-ray images that show you the hidden cavities between your teeth
- Toothache during food consumption
Treatments for Cavities
Depending on the extent of the tooth decay, there are several treatments available for dental cavity conditions. If the decay condition is not serious, some minor drilling and filling may be the solution. Materials used in fillings are considered safe. The decayed portion of the tooth is removed by drilling and replaced with a filling made of different alloys. If the problem is more severe:
- Crowns can be used if minimal tooth structure is remaining.
- Root canals may be required for severe tooth decay.
- Decayed or weakened areas of the tooth must be removed and repaired.