Although the title of this piece implies that we’re only going to discuss the cause and treatment of cavities in children, it’s important to point out that all of the information applies to adult teeth, as well. Whether you’re reading this to gain insight into your own oral health, or you’re looking for ways to ensure the long-term oral health of your child, we’re sure you’ll find the information useful in many ways.
To explain what a cavity is in laymen’s terms, it’s a hole in the hard surface of a patient’s tooth that has been caused by bacteria. The most common type of bacteria that causes the damage is scientifically known as Streptococcus mutans, and if left untreated, it can grow in size and even advance into an infection or abscess – both of which will require additional dental procedures to correct.
Even though the Mayo Clinic reports that “cavities and tooth decay are among the world’s most common health problems,” there are things that patients of all ages can do to keep from having to seek cavity treatment in Durham. Some suggestions include regular dental exams and cleanings from a dentist in Durham, coupled with good at-home brushing and flossing habits.
The process of a cavity’s destruction is explained in three phases. First, dental plaque that has been created by the bacteria we previously mentioned coats your teeth. If not removed through dental cleanings, the next phase of the assault is that the plaque will form acids that erode the protective enamel of your teeth. Finally, tiny holes and other openings create a perfect environment for decay to develop and attack the inner pulp of the affected tooth.
Most patients who complain of pain when they bite down while eating are already experiencing the symptoms of a cavity. Although this symptom could be the cause of other conditions such as periodontal disease or tooth sensitivity, cavity treatment in Durham should be a priority to diagnose and treat the symptoms fully.
It’s comforting to know that a cavity can easily be treated by a dentist near you, but equally important is knowing that preventive dentistry can lower your risk from a cavity occurring in the first place. Some people may believe they don’t have the time to visit their dentist twice a year for a complete exam and professional cleaning, but the truth is that preventive dentistry saves time – and money – in the long-term!
In addition to the dental exam, dental cleaning, and routine x-rays, many dentists are now providing a visual, oral cancer screening when patients visit them for preventive dental check-ups. That means you’ll not only be staying ahead of the need for restorative dental work, but you’ll also be staying ahead of a potentially life-threatening condition.
There are some suggestions mentioned online at various sites about home treatment for dental cavities such as clove and sesame seed oils, saltwater rinses, or fermented cod liver oil, to name a few, but the concern about ignoring professional treatment is that your toothache could be the result of an infection. And when an infection is not treated with the diligence it deserves, it can spread to other parts of your mouth, gums, and anatomy – and even become life-threatening.
We suggest that rather than spending money and time on treatments that may – or may not – work, that you visit your local dentist for guaranteed treatment against the infection and then focus your efforts on preventive practices to avoid future cavities.
A few tips that you can incorporate into your lifestyle include cutting out sugary foods, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and locating a family and general dentist near you who can provide services such as dental sealants and fluoride treatments, if needed.
As a leading family and cosmetic dentist in the Triangle Area of North Carolina, the dental care team at Better Dentistry would love to meet you and help you achieve the confident smile you deserve. Make an appointment in one of our convenient Raleigh or Durham offices today.