Tooth decay occurs when bacteria collects on one of the surfaces of a tooth, and by feeding on the same sugars that we eat, produces an acid by-product which erodes tooth enamel away and produces a hole or cavity. Cavities can occur anywhere the bacteria are not sufficiently cleaned away. The longer the bacteria are left to produce acid, the larger and more painful the cavity will become.
Dental Fillings Before
Dental Fillings After
The hole in the tooth is cleaned thoroughly, surrounding decay is removed, and a filling is used to seal the cavity. Very small cavities in the pits of teeth may not require “numbing” or “freezing”, also called local anesthetic. Larger cavities will require local anesthetic so that pain-free treatment can be administered.
The average filling can be expected to last 7-10 years before needing replacement. As fillings get closer to the center of the tooth, the risk of root canal arises.
Filling material is coloured to match the surrounding tooth, and look quite natural. In some instances where larger cavities are encountered, it may be necessary to use a crown to properly protect the tooth.
Why Is It important to Fix Cavities?
Cavities are produced by a bacterial infection in the structure of a tooth or teeth. Just like any infection which isn’t treated, it will begin to spread as more and more bacteria accumulate. Cavities start slowly and without symptoms, then, as more bacteria accumulate, the tooth erodes at a much faster rate. Cavities that are not treated will spread to the nerve of the tooth, eventually causing pain and requiring root canal treatment or removal of the tooth.
Baby teeth are particularly susceptible to tooth decay as the enamel is thinner allowing the decay to spread quite quickly through the tooth. Deep cavities in baby teeth are often difficult to restore and can require extensive work. A baby tooth that is lost early can give rise to spacing problems and the need to for corrective orthodontics.
What Can I Do To Prevent Cavities?
The best way to prevent cavities is to brush twice daily and floss or use soft-picks once per day. If you have a sugary drink or snack, rinse your mouth to flush away some of the sugar. Keep up with your hygiene maintenance appointments to make sure problems are caught early and addressed promptly.