A general and family dentist in Fallston, Dr. Teddy Umo has experience in treating tooth cavities in both children and adults.
What Causes Tooth Cavities
Tooth decay is permanently damaged areas on the surface of a tooth that develop into tiny holes. In the beginning stages, these tiny holes are only visible to a dentist and will likely not cause any harmful symptoms. Most tooth cavities are caused by a lack of proper oral care.
Not taking proper care of your teeth (daily brushing and flossing) will result in a buildup of plaque along the gums and teeth. When plaque comes in contact with sugar and starch, it activates bacteria in plaque. This causes the bacteria to attack and erode tooth enamel. As the tooth enamel breaks down and wears away, it creates dental cavities.
Preventing Tooth Cavities
Preventing tooth cavities is crucial for maintaining good oral health. Continue reading to learn more about preventing tooth cavities.
- Visit the dentist twice a year for teeth cleanings and exams
- Brush teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste (if over the age of 2)
- Floss daily to prevent cavities from forming between teeth
- Limit sugary snacks and soda and maintain a healthy diet
Tooth Cavity Symptoms
Tooth cavities can exhibit various symptoms, and recognizing these signs is crucial for timely intervention and treatment. In the early stages of a tooth cavity, patients experience no symptoms. A dentist, however, will be able to see signs of early tooth decay and can prevent the tooth cavity from forming or getting worse.
One common symptom is tooth sensitivity, particularly to hot or cold temperatures. You may experience discomfort or pain when consuming these substances. Additionally, you may notice toothache or localized pain in the affected tooth, especially when biting or applying pressure. As the tooth cavity gets larger, symptoms may include toothache, tooth sensitivity, and inflammation of the gums around the tooth or teeth.
Treatment For Tooth Cavities
If you have a tooth cavity or if your teeth are showing signs of decay, Dr. Umo offers general dentistry treatments to provide stability and protection to those teeth. Cosmetic tooth fillings (fillings that are tooth-colored) are often used to treat teeth with early stages of tooth decay.
Other options are inlays, onlays, and dental crowns. It is important to have Dr.Umo treat teeth cavities when found. Tooth decay is a progressive disease and will require a more invasive treatment like a root canal or even extraction if ignored.
Tooth Cavities in Children
The most common chronic childhood disease in America is tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association, over 50% of first-graders and 80% of 17-year-olds have cavities. Pediatric dentistry is very important to help children and teens establish healthy mouths early for a lifetime of smiles.
As a Fallston family dentist, Dr. Umo treats children to prevent and treat tooth cavities. We suggest that your children visit our office every six months. This is important for a few reasons: they will become comfortable in a dentist office, they trust our dental staff, to educate them about proper oral hygiene, and to spot any dental issues early.
Tooth Cavities FAQ’s
Do you have further questions about tooth cavities and how they can be treated? Continue reading to learn more and to find answers to frequently asked questions in our office.
What are the main causes of tooth cavities?
Tooth cavities are primarily caused by poor oral hygiene and the presence of bacteria in the mouth. When plaque accumulates on the teeth, it produces acids that erode the enamel and creates cavities. Factors such as frequent consumption of sugary or acidic foods and beverages, poor oral care and brushing and flossing, dry mouth, and certain medical conditions can increase the risk of cavities.
What are common symptoms of a cavity?
Common signs and symptoms of tooth cavities include tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks, toothache or pain, visible holes or pits in the teeth, tooth discoloration, and sensitivity to pressure or biting. However, cavities can sometimes be present without causing noticeable symptoms, which is why regular dental check-ups are essential for early detection and treatment.
How can tooth cavities be prevented?
Tooth cavities can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, limiting sugary and acidic foods and drinks, and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. Fluoride treatments and dental sealants can also be recommended to strengthen and protect the teeth.
How are tooth cavities treated?
The treatment for tooth cavities depends on the severity and extent of the decay. In most cases, the decayed portion of the tooth is removed, and the cavity is filled with a dental filling, such as composite resin or amalgam. In more severe cases where the cavity has reached the inner pulp of the tooth, a root canal treatment may be necessary. In advanced cases, if the tooth is extensively damaged and cannot be saved, extraction may be required, however, this is unlikely.
Can tooth cavities affect overall health?
Tooth cavities can affect overall health if left untreated. The bacteria responsible for cavities can spread and cause infections, leading to more serious dental conditions, such as abscesses or periodontal disease. Additionally, poor oral health and untreated cavities have been linked to systemic health issues, including cardiovascular disease, heart failure, diabetes, and respiratory infections.
Are there any alternatives to dental fillings for cavities?
In some cases, dental fillings may not be the most suitable option for treating cavities. Alternatives such as dental crowns or inlays/onlays may be recommended to restore the tooth’s structure and functionality depending on the size, location, and needs.
Schedule a Dental Exam Today
Contact Harford County Dentistry for teeth cleaning and tooth cavity screening. We offer many treatments for a tooth cavity near Bel Air, MD, and Fallston, MD. Our dental office is located at 1810 Bel Air Road in Fallston, Maryland. Call 410-994-2627 for an appointment or request an appointment online.