Will My Cavity Disappear? Why You Need a Filling ASAP
Many cavities fly under the radar due to their size. So, once most people notice they have a cavity, it’s not reversible and is already too late. Instead of waiting for a cavity to magically go away, the next step is to receive a tooth-colored filling from our Portage dentist.
Here’s what you need to know about cavity progression and why you need restorative treatment.
Tooth Decay Stages
Did you know that there are 5 distinct stages that tooth decay goes through that contribute to the? Each stage is characterized by changes in appearance and or sensations felt.
Tooth decay progresses in the following stages:
- Demineralization: In this stage, the tooth enamel is exposed to acids from bacteria that have interacted with sugars and starches.
- Enamel Decay: The enamel is continuing to break down and cavities can form in teeth.
- Dentin Decay: During the 3rd stage, the decay has reached the dentin layer of the tooth underneath the enamel. Once decay spreads to this soft tissue, pain can occur.
- Pulp Decay: This major stage of decay occurs when the cavity reaches the pulp. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels in the tooth. Decay here can cause extreme inflammation.
- Dental Abscesses: When the bacteria inside the cavity spreads beneath the pulp and forms a pocket of pus, you have a dental abscess. Abscesses are often very painful, but some can go unnoticed.
Can You Reverse a Cavity?
The only time in which cavities can be reversed is in the early stages of demineralization. Dedicated oral hygiene is critical to restoring lost minerals in your teeth and stopping decay from progressing.
Unfortunately, many do not catch cavities at this stage, and they pass the point of no return. Once bacteria and decay get through enamel, enough damage has already been done. A cavity is not going to stop once it’s started. It will require a filling or some other form of treatment.
Dr. Paul urges you to call our office ASAP if you are experiencing any. This can include increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and pain when chewing or biting down. If a cavity is neglected, it can develop into a much more serious complication.
Your Treatment Options
There are several ways that our dentist can treat a cavity. The severity of the decay often determines whether a more intensive solution is required. It is never wise to let a cavity sit. If left untreated, the spread of the decay will worsen and could lead to tooth extraction.
When the cavity is small to medium in size, a dental filling will suffice. Our dentist will use tooth-colored composite resin to fill the cavity and closely match your natural enamel. This is the traditional way to treat smaller cavities, but other methods may have to be implemented if it is larger.
Other procedures used to treat cavities include:
- Dental crowns
- Root canal therapy
- Inlay or onlays
- Tooth extraction
Dr. Paul will examine the affected tooth to check how deep the decay has gone. His findings will then influence what treatment option is best for you and your oral health.
How to Stop Cavity Formation
Obviously, the best situation to be in is one where you have no cavities. You can prevent cavities by following an oral hygiene routine every day. That means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using a mouthwash.
It’s most beneficial if you brush your teeth for two minutes in the morning and at night. Be sure to also use a toothpaste that contains fluoride for extra protection against plaque buildup. Make your at-home cleanings even better by angling the brush at a 45-degree angle so both your gums and teeth are brushed.
Aside from brushing and flossing, try to limit your exposure to overly starchy or sugary foods if you can. Foods of this type heavily contribute to tooth decay and require that you thoroughly brush after consuming them.
Our dentist also encourages you to visit our Portage dental office for a professional teeth cleaning every 6 months or as often as directed. During these appointments, we will take note of any arising issues and clean hardened tartar off teeth that otherwise, is difficult to remove at home.
Treat Your Cavity Now
Don’t put off treating your cavity. Our dentist in Portage, MI, can restore your smile with a tooth-colored filling that will blend in seamlessly with the rest of your teeth. Call Courtside Dental today at (269) 327-1011 to request an appointment.