Cavities in St. Charles, IL
Cavities are the number one cause of tooth loss, so it is important to know how to identify them, prevent them and ultimately, treat them. Known as “tooth decay” in medical terms, a cavity is the most common dental disorder and the second most common health condition, after the banal cold (according to the National Institute of Health). Fortunately, they can be discovered in early stages and treated, so as not to cause any problems in the future.
Causes of Cavities
- Improper dental hygiene
- A diet high in sugar and starch
- Lack of fluoride
- Chronic diseases or medication which inhibits saliva production
- Drug use
- Soda-both regular and sugar-free, popular sports drinks, and energy drinks
Symptoms of Cavities
Incipient cavities have little to no symptoms. You may feel a slight sensitivity to cold and/or a mild discoloration on the tooth surface in the initial stages of the cavity when the enamel is worn out. When the cavity advances into the dentin, a dark spot appears, and tooth sensitivity increases. You may experience a bad taste in the mouth and a bad odor in the morning. During the last stage of a cavity, the pain may become extremely acute, leading to nerve involvement, leaving the tooth exposed to an abscess (tooth infection of the nerve).
Depending on the cavity’s advancement, there are different types of dental procedures you can undergo. Fillings, crowns and root canals are options for treating a cavity:
- Fillings – Usable for small cavities, that leave most of the tooth intact. Fillings require removing the affected portion of the tooth and replacing it with a material that is resistant, comfortable and can be perfectly molded in the remaining space. The most popular fillings are porcelain and composite resins, as they can perfectly mimic the color of natural teeth. Silver alloy (amalgam) and gold are much more resistant. Because of their color, they are reserved for back teeth or replaced with one of the tooth-colored materials. Most dental offices no longer place amalgam fillings.
- Crowns (or caps)– Suitable for treating extended cavities, crowns require removing the decayed tooth and reshaping the remaining tooth so as to provide a good base for the cap. The crown is attached to the reshaped tooth and sealed with special cement. Crowns are available in gold, porcelain, porcelain fused to metal and composite. The material choice should be discussed with the dentist.
- Root Canals– You qualify for root canal treatment when the cavities affect the tooth’s pulp chamber, the treatment involves removing the tooth’s pulp and nerve, thoroughly cleaning the canals and sealing them to prevent food and saliva from entering the canals. The root canal treatment is followed by a filling or a crown, depending on how much tooth remains after removing the decayed portions.
- Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once;
- Minimize the intake of products high in sugar and starch;
- Visit the dentist every six months for a complete check-up;
- Ask for a professional cleaning every six months, sooner if tartar builds up quickly, you smoke or chew tobacco, or have diabetes.
Cavities are common, but they should not affect you! Visit us today for cost-effective and reliable cavities treatment.