September 28, 2016
Let’s take a minute to talk about cavities.
If you have never had one, that is excellent. There’s a good chance that you are practicing good preventive oral care. Keep it up.
But even if you’ve never had a cavity, we want you to be aware of what you can do to prevent tooth decay from turning into a much bigger problem. And since more than 90 percent of American adults will have at least one cavity in their lives, we would much rather address this issue in the early stages.
Davenport Dental Group offers metal-free dental fillings for our patients in and around Laredo, TX. Our dentists don’t want cavities to affect your smiles.
The Progression Of Tooth Decay
For the sake of argument, let’s consider what could happen if you completely ignore tooth decay in one of your teeth. What’s the worst that could happen?
The first stage of tooth decay occurs when bacteria starts to eat into the protection enamel that makes up the outside of your tooth. As the bacteria eats into your tooth, it creates a hole. This is the start of a cavity.
With time, you make notice discoloration on your tooth. Yellow, brown, or black spots may appear.
Enamel is the hardest substance on the human body. If bacteria can eat through it, they will reach the softer layer of dentin underneath. When the bacteria reaches this part of your tooth, it will be able to progress faster and cause more problems.
Eventually, bacteria will eat through the dentin and into the pulp chamber, which contains pulp (a soft connective tissue), nerves, and blood vessels.
If you pulp becomes infected, it can become inflamed. You may notice increased sensitivity to sweets, heat, and cold in this infected tooth. It may be painful to bite or chew with this tooth.
From there, it’s only a matter of time before your tooth becomes so decayed that it falls out. The decay can affect your jawbone or spread to other teeth, and that can put your entire mouth at risk.
Now, we realize this is taking tooth decay to the extreme, but we also hope it serves as motivation to seek treatment as soon as you suspect that you may have a cavity. Treating it early will stop the spread of the decay and prevent you from experiencing these other problems.
Dentists have use dental fillings to restore and repair teeth for centuries.
For a long time, metal fillings were the standard treatment for cavities. Gold and amalgam were used to fill the cavities after tooth decay was removed.
Gold is the most expensive of these options, and amalgam is made with mercury that has been blended with silver, copper, tin, or more than one of those metals.
These fillings did the job from a functional standpoint, but they weren’t exactly subtle. If you’d had a cavity, metal fillings made it pretty obvious which tooth had been affected.
Today, you don’t have to alert everyone you meet that you’ve had a cavity thanks to composite fillings.
We use the composite resin for a couple reasons. The first is because composite fillings to what filings are supposed to do. They restore the shape of your tooth and they protect your tooth against more decay.
The second thing is what sets composite fillings apart from metal fillings. Composite fillings are also called white fillings or tooth-colored fillings.
Why? Because they match the color of teeth. Instead of getting a filling that announces, “Joe had a cavity right here,” you can get a filling that sends the message, “Nothing to see here. Move along.”
This may seem small to someone who has not (yet) had a cavity, but for people with metal fillings, this is something to keep in mind when you fillings need to be replaced.
We would be remiss if we didn’t at least take a moment to discuss ways you can prevent tooth decay.
This starts with basic oral hygiene. You should brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes. You also should floss between your teeth and gums at least once per day. If nothing else, this removes particles of food that bacteria can use to form plaque.
The next step is making regular visits to our dentist offices in Laredo, TX, for professional cleanings and examinations. While you are here, you may want to ask about dental sealants and fluoride treatments, both of which can reduce your risk of cavities.
Make An Appointment
We hope you will visit Davenport Dental Group soon for a routine cleaning or at the first sign of a possible cavity. You can make your appointment by calling 956-242-6745 (Junction Drive) or 956-517-2695 (Winfield) or by filling out our online form.