Cavities is the clinical term for dental caries or cavities. It is caused by specific types of bacteria. They produce acid that destroys the tooth’s enamel and the layer under it, the dentin.
Causes of Cavities in Teeth
Cavities, or tooth decay, is the destruction of your tooth enamel, the tough, outer layer of your teeth. It can be an issue for children, teens and adults. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods consisting of sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth and over time the enamel can break down. This is when cavities can form. A cavity is a little hole in your tooth.
Various types of bacteria normally live in the human mouth. They develop on the teeth in a sticky movie called plaque. This plaque also includes saliva, littles food and other natural compounds. It forms most easily in specific locations. These include:
- Fractures, pits or grooves in the back teeth
- Between teeth
- Around dental fillings or bridgework
- Near the gum line
The bacteria turn sugar and carbohydrates (starches) in the foods we eat into acids. The acids dissolve minerals in the hard enamel that covers the tooth’s crown (the part you can see). The enamel deteriorates or develops pits. They are too little to see in the beginning. But they get larger over time.
Acid likewise can permeate through pores in the enamel. This is how decay begins in the softer dentin layer, the main body of the tooth. As the dentin and enamel break down, a cavity is created.
If the decay is not removed, bacteria will continue to grow and produce acid that ultimately will get into the tooth’s inner layer. This contains the soft pulp and sensitive nerve fibers.
Tooth roots exposed by receding gums likewise can establish decay. The root’s external layer, cementum, is not as thick as enamel. Acids from plaque bacteria can dissolve it rapidly.
Symptoms of Cavities in Teeth
Early caries may not have any symptoms. Later on, when the decay has penetrated the enamel, the teeth may be sensitive to sweet, hot or cold foods or drinks.
How to Identify Cavities in Teeth
A dental professional will try to find caries at each workplace visit. The dental practitioner will take a look at the teeth and may penetrate them with a tool called an explorer to try to find pits or areas of damage. The problem with these techniques is that they typically do not catch cavities when they are just forming. Occasionally, if excessive force is used, an explorer can pierce the enamel. This could allow the cavity-causing bacteria to infect healthy teeth.
Your dentist will take X-rays of your teeth on a set schedule, and also if an issue is thought. They can show newly forming decay, particularly between teeth. They also reveal the more advanced decay, consisting of whether decay has reached the pulp and whether the tooth requires a root canal.
More recent devices also can help to spot tooth decay. They work in some circumstances, and they do not spread out decay. The one most frequently used in dental workplaces is a liquid color or stain. Your dentist brushes the nontoxic dye over your teeth, then rinses it off with water. It rinses away cleanly from healthy areas however sticks to the decayed areas.
Some dental practitioners likewise use state-of-the-art devices such as lasers to detect cavities. Under lots of conditions, these devices can detect extremely early tooth decay, which can in fact be reversed.
Caries caught in the very early stages can be reversed. White spots may suggest early caries that has not yet eroded through the enamel. Early caries might be reversed if acid damage is stopped and the tooth is given an opportunity to repair itself naturally.
Caries that has ruined enamel can not be reversed. Most caries will continue to get worse and go deeper. With time, the tooth may decay to the root. For how long this takes will vary from person to individual. Caries can erode to a painful level within months or years.
One way you can prevent cavities is by reducing the quantity of plaque and bacteria in your mouth. The best method to do this is by brushing and flossing daily. You also can use antibacterial mouth washes to decrease the levels of bacteria that cause cavities. Other rinses neutralize the acid in your mouth to make the environment less friendly to the development of these bacteria.
You can decrease the quantity of tooth-damaging acid in your mouth by eating sweet or starchy foods less frequently during the day. Your mouth will remain acidic for numerous hours after you eat. For that reason, you are most likely to avoid caries if you prevent between-meal treats.
Chewing gum that contains xylitol helps to decrease bacterial development. Unlike sugar, xylitol is not a food source for bacteria. Other items likewise can reduce the acid level in your mouth. Ask your dental professional about them.
Another way to reduce your risk of cavities is through making use of fluoride, which reinforces teeth. A dental professional can evaluate your risk of caries and after that recommend suitable fluoride treatments. Fluoride in water strengthens teeth from within, as they develop, and also on the outside. Dental experts likewise can paint fluoride varnish on children’s baby teeth to protect them from decay.
In grownups, molars can be safeguarded with sealants. In children, both baby molars and irreversible molars can be sealed. Dental experts also can use sealants on molars that have early signs of dental caries, as long as the decay has not broken through the enamel.
Treatment for Cavity in Teeth
Caries is a process. In its early stages, tooth decay can be stopped. It can even be reversed. Fluorides and other prevention methods also help a tooth in early stages of decay to fix itself (remineralize). White spots are the last stage of early caries.
Once caries becomes worse and there is a break in the enamel, only the dentist can fix the tooth. Then the standard treatment for a cavity is to fill the tooth. If a drill is used, the dental expert will numb the area. If a laser is used, a numbing shot is not normally needed. The decayed product in the cavity is gotten rid of and the cavity is filled.
Many fillings are made of dental amalgam or composite resin. Amalgam is a silver-gray material made from silver, mercury, copper or other metals. Composite resin offers a better look because it is tooth-colored. More recent resins are extremely long lasting.
Amalgams are used in molars and premolars because the metal is not seen in the back of the mouth. Composite and ceramic materials are used for all teeth.
If a cavity is big, the staying tooth might not be able to support adequate filling material to repair it. In this case, the dental professional will eliminate the decay and cover the tooth with a ceramic inlay, onlay or synthetic crown. These might be made in the workplace or in a laboratory.
Sometimes bacteria may contaminate the pulp inside the tooth even if the part of the tooth you can see remains relatively intact. In this case, the tooth will require root canal treatment. A general dental expert or an endodontist will remove the pulp and change it with an inert product. For the most parts, the tooth will require a crown.
How Do Dentists Fix Cavities on Front Teeth
In many cases, a cavity on front tooth that is dealt with early will not need comprehensive treatment. Depending on the severity of your cavity and general oral health, your dental expert may recommend among the following treatments.
When it comes to weakened teeth or a comprehensive decay, crowns might be needed. These are custom-fitted coverings which replace the whole natural crown on your tooth. The dentist will drill away the decayed part of your teeth in addition to a few of the rest of your tooth to make sure the crown fits appropriately. Crowns can be made of resin, gold, porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, and so on
Fillings or repairs are the most popular treatment for a cavity on front tooth, which is a perfect treatment if your decay has passed the earliest stage of enamel disintegration. Possible filling materials consist of porcelain, composite resins or combined materials, which are generally tooth-colored. There are also silver amalgam fillings with little quantities of mercury and numerous other products.
3. Fluoride Treatments
When cavities remain in the early stages, fluoride treatments can work to bring back the enamel of the teeth. You will find more fluoride in professional treatment than mouth rinses, over the counter tooth paste and tap water, which can be in the form of varnish, foam, gel or liquid. All treatments pointed out here just take up a couple of minutes.
4. Root Canals
If a decay has reached the tooth pulp (the inner product of a tooth), a root canal may be required. In this procedure, your dental professional will remove your infected tooth pulp and replace it with a filling. In some cases your dentist will likewise include medication to the root canal to clean up infections.
5. Tooth Extractions
In severe cases, your front tooth may end up being decayed to the point where it can not be brought back. At this moment, it will need to be eliminated. In the case of a cavity on front tooth, this can leave an undesirable space and permits your other teeth to shift. As such, you can get a dental implant or bridge to replace this missing tooth.
When To Call a Specialist
The early stages of decay are usually painless. Just routine dental evaluations and X-rays (or other caries-detecting devices) can show early difficulty. If your teeth become sensitive to chewing or to hot, cold or sweet foods or drinks, call your dental expert.
If caries is not dealt with, it likely will cause the tooth to decay considerably. Eventually, unchecked decay might ruin the tooth.
Having caries increases your risk of more caries for a number of reasons:
- Caries is brought on by bacteria. The more decay you have, the more bacteria exist in your mouth.
- The same oral care and dietary practices that led to the decay of your teeth will cause more decay.
- Bacteria tend to stick to fillings and other restorations more than to smooth teeth, so those areas will be most likely to have brand-new caries.
- Fractures or spaces in the fillings may enable bacteria and food to enter the tooth, resulting in decay from beneath the filling.