Cavities and Fillings

What is Tooth Decay?

A cavity begins with bacteria (plaque) that sit on a tooth long enough to, feed on the sugars we eat and , release acidic byproducts that 4) dissolve our tooth

  1.   Less Brushing and Flossing = more plaque
  2.   Snacking on carbs/sugars = more food for the bacteria
  3.   Acidic food and drinks like soda or biting on lemons = more acids to help the bacteria dissolve our teeth
  4.   Fluoride helps to keep our teeth strong

*Try to rinse with tap water or chew a piece of ADA approved xylitol-containing gum for 5 minutes after a snack or soda to help prevent cavities when brushing is not convenient.

(I'll even admit it is too good, too refreshing to pass up on this!)

The outside layer of our tooth, enamel, is the hardest human tissue. Once the bacteria breaks through that layer the cavity can spread quickly.

Infections always follow the path of least resistance - it must be stopped before the bacteria reach your tooth pulp, or worse, the soft tissue spaces.

To stop a cavity, your dentist must remove the diseased tooth tissues and replace the lost tooth structure with a filling.

What may happen with large Fillings?

A deep cavity may approach your dental pulp, or the nerves and blood vessels of a tooth. Eventually it would spread into the pulp and cause a Toothache. However, sometimes performing a deep filling may cause a tooth that wasn't painful, to become painful...not having a cavity would prevent all this confusion!

The larger the filling, the weaker the tooth becomes. To prevent a future tooth fracture, your dentist may decide to place a Crown to protect your tooth.

The Preventive Program