What Is Dental Cavity? -Symptoms, Treatment, And Prevention
I remember how scared I was when we had our mandatory annual checkup at the school and I was waiting to see a dentist. The doctor was very impressed by my white teeth but my friend had a Dental Cavity. And,we all cried assuming she would be operated on. And till date I am scared of chocolates. Sugary products, food with high carbohydrate content, junk food, and highly processed edibles are the main causes for dental cavity. Certain bacterial species thrive on these foods and grow in number to slowly damage the protective layer of enamel and invade the nerves and capillaries.
What Is Dental Cavity?
Tiny holes in teeth caused by bacterial action are called tooth decay or dental caries or dental cavity. The food particles, bacteria, saliva, and acid all together form a layer called plaque. Plaque forms a thin layer around the teeth and gum, and if not removed it along with tartar can result in gingivitis and periodontitis.
The clearest symptoms of dental caries are:
- Pain and tooth ache when hot or cold edibles and drinks are taken.
- And, the presence of tiny holes in the teeth that are visible to the naked eye.
How To Know If You Have Caries?
Even when a patient suffers from cavity he or she may not feel the pain initially. This is because of the fact that the acid first destroys enamel and reaches the sensitive dentin which protects the nerves and capillaries used to form the teeth.
A qualified dentist will examine the teeth using an instrument and identify if you are suffering from cavities. X-ray can help identify the minor cracks that have been formed and are painless initially before visible to naked eye.
What Are The Treatments For Decaying Of Teeth?
There are three types of treatments available for the condition depending upon the severity.
- Root canal treatment
- The damaged teeth material is removed and a gold, silver alloy, composite resin, or porcelain is used to fill the holes. The damaged material is removed and is filled with porcelain, composite resin, or other fillings.
- Crowns or caps are used when the damage is extensive and it needs large fillings. But instead of fillings; crowns are preferred if the teeth are weak and have a chance of breaking if filled. The affected part is removed and a crown is used to hold the remaining part of it to hold.
Root Canal Treatment:
- When the infection reaches the soft and pulp part of the teeth – the nerves and the blood vessels and destroys it, root canal treatment is opted to treat and control further damage. The affected part is removed and is filled with composite resin, porcelain or other preferred material and a crown is fixed to hold it together.
Prevention And Other Important Points:
- Saliva secretion is very important in fighting cavities. Saliva helps remove and rinse accumulated plaque, acids, food particles, and normalizes the pH of the teeth.
- People who have reduced saliva secretion, or those who have undergone chemotherapy, or any other disease that results in low saliva are most likely to be affected.
- Oral hygiene is very important to rinse and remove the layer of plaque from the teeth.
- Brushing teeth twice or thrice a day and rinsing the mouth after drinking or eating anything is a safe practice.
- Consult a dentist if you naturally have low pH levels of teeth.
- Avoid smoking, eating sugary edibles, cut down junk and fried food.
- Avoid carbonated and sweetened cold drinks.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Fluoride in water can prevent cavities.
- Ask your dentist for artificial saliva prescription, or sugarless gums to stimulate saliva production.
- Rinse your mouth and floss at least once a day.
Visiting a dentist every 6 months can reduce the chances of developing dental cavity to a large extent and save you from the pain and symptoms.