Cavities. You know you want to avoid them. Maybe you've even had one or two in your lifetime. But do you really know everything you need to know about cavities, including how to detect and prevent them?
At Dental Dimensions, we believe educated patients are better equipped to care for their teeth and gums. That's why we focus on preventative care for each of our patients in order to avoid dental problems that are often caused by cavities and decay.
What is a Cavity?
To put it simply, cavities are decayed areas of your teeth that develop into small openings or holes- a process that occurs over time. Also called tooth decay, cavities are caused by a combination of factors, including poor oral hygiene and the frequent snacking of sugary foods. When bacteria, acid, food particles and saliva combine to form plaque, it clings to the teeth, and when not removed by regular brushing, begins to dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth. Inside your teeth, decay can gradually destroy the inner layer, or pulp, which contains blood vessels, nerves and other tissues. Left untreated, the long-term decay process can lead to infections in your gums and can eat away at the bone structures under the teeth.
You might have a cavity if...
The signs and symptoms of cavities vary depending on the extent of decay and the location of the cavity. In its early stages, a cavity may not present any symptoms. As the decay progresses, the following symptoms may indicate a cavity:
- Tooth sensitivity to sweet, hot or cold drinks
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Visible pits or holes in the teeth
- Pus surrounding a tooth
Red, tender and swollen gums; unexplained bad breath; loose teeth; and changes in your bite are also signs of serious dental problems and should be examined by our San Jose office.
How can I prevent cavities from developing?
Dental Dimensions recommends the following steps to help prevent tooth decay:
- Brush at least twice a day to keep teeth clean, especially after eating and drinking
- Floss at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque in hard to reach areas
- Avoid frequent snacking and sipping of sugary foods and drinks
- Visit our San Jose office for routine cleanings and check ups. Professional cleanings can remove plaque and tartar build up that a regular toothbrush cannot
Cavities are very serious. Left untreated, a cavity can destroy your tooth and kill the delicate nerves at its center. Once an abscess forms, the only treatment options may be a root canal, surgery or extracting the tooth. The best way to detect and prevent cavities is by visitingDental Dimensions regularly, as we can detect a cavity in its earliest stages. By practicing good dental care at home and visiting our San Jose office regularly, you'll help your teeth stay cavity free!