Common Questions About Cavities
Before any dental appointment, one thought pops into most people’s heads — “I wonder if I have a cavity.” Fear of cavities is a concern that’s pressed into us from a young age. That’s the main reason we brush so vigorously and make sure we have regular trips to the dentist’s office. However, a lot of myths surround cavities.
Believe it or not, if you’ve had a cavity, you’re not alone. The majority of patients who visit us have had a cavity at one time or another. In fact, they’re one of the most common oral ailments we see. Despite this fact, you may still have questions or concerns about cavities, their treatment and how to prevent them.
What Causes a Dental Cavity?
Cavities are caused by the bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria take the sugars in your food and turn it into acid. Over time, the acid works its way through your tooth’s protective enamel and creates holes. These holes, which are the result of decay and damage, are called cavities.
How Do I Know If I Have a Cavity?
Unfortunately, some cavities develop without creating any symptoms. However, you can look out for a couple of signs that could indicate that you have a cavity, such as:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
- A toothache
- Slight discoloration of the tooth
- A hole that you can visually see (in severe cases)
If There’s No Pain, Am I Cavity-Free?
Although cavities can cause increased sensitivity or pain, just because you don’t experience these symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have a cavity. That’s why regular dental visits are so essential. By the time painful symptoms develop, the damage caused by your cavity could be more extensive.
Can My Cavity Heal by Itself?
Although some infections heal on their own, cavities do not fall into that category. The tooth decay caused by cavities needs to be treated by a dental professional. If you wait, the decay can spread to the pulp, causing more damage to the structure of the tooth. When this process happens, it requires a more extensive dental procedure called a root canal. It may even result in the loss of that tooth.
How Are Cavities Treated?
Depending on the extent of the tooth decay, the recommended treatment may differ. The most common procedure involves a dental filling. We remove the decayed dental material, and the entire area is cleaned. Then, the dentist fills the space with one of several filling options, including:
- Composite tooth-coloured resin
- Silver amalgam
We’ll discuss these filling options with you before your procedure to help you make the right choice.
Will It Hurt to Get a Filling?
This question is probably the most commonly asked one. Because of the sedation methods we use, most fillings do not hurt. When the dentist numbs the area, it may cause a slight pressure. However, after that, you shouldn’t feel pain. Our goal is to make you as comfortable as possible, so if you’re nervous about pain, be sure to discuss it with our dental team so that we can help you with any anxiety you’re experiencing.
How Can I Prevent Cavities?
Chances are, you’ve heard of the most common methods of cavity prevention from the time you were young. They include:
- Regular brushing and flossing
- Water drinking
- Avoidance of foods high in sugar
- Fluoride treatments
- Protective sealants provided by your dentist
However, the top way to prevent and treat cavities is with regular trips to the dentist. The friendly team at Alpen Dental is waiting to provide you with dental care. Contact us today to make an appointment.