How to Prevent and Treat Dental Cavities
What Are Cavities?
Also known as tooth decay, a cavity is basically a hole that gets formed in your tooth. It starts small, gradually growing bigger when you don’t get them treated.
Because cavities don’t accompany any painful indications, they often go unnoticed until they’ve grown bigger. The only way to detect the onset of tooth decay is to get regular dental appointments with your family or emergency dental providers.
Most people who think that their oral health is excellent are surprised to find that they have undetected cavities. But, don’t be shocked if you do find that. There are ways to fix cavities and fix any further damage.
How to Prevent Dental Cavities?
Visit Your Dentist and Dental Hygienist
Start by getting to know the level of cavity risk you’re at. For that, you need to visit your dentist who will run a thorough dental check-up. Based on the level of your dental health, he/she will recommend the best course of treatment. He may also suggest some oral hygiene changes as well as changes in diet (if necessary). Knowing the level of risk allows you to follow an effective approach to improve your dental health.
This visit will also tell you how frequently you should visit your dentist. If you are serious about your oral health/hygiene, you must not skip this step or take it lightly.
Brush Your Teeth Properly and Regularly
As obvious as it sounds, most people don’t take it seriously. You’ve probably already heard it hundreds of times, but it’s super crucial not just for your oral health but overall health also.
Brushing is the simplest and the best tool in your arsenal to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria build-up on a day to day basis. Ideally, you should be brushing before hitting the bed as well as after each meal. Night-time brushing is the most important because all through the night, bacteria get the longest windows to grow and increase in population. The longer they linger on, the more damage to the enamel they cause leading to cavities.
Floss Between Your Teeth Daily
Flossing is no one’s favorite activity, but it’s super crucial. Our teeth have a total of 5 sides. The brushing can only access 3 of those sides. Flossing is the only way that you reach in places that a regular brush simply cannot.
Flossing only takes a couple of minutes but the benefits you reap are plentiful. Regular flossing could even save you several expensive visits to your dentist. It can dramatically improve your health. If you have kids, be sure to talk with a good children’s dentist about flossing habits and techniques on kids.
If you find it boring to floss, we suggest that you do it while watching TV or having a stroll around the house. Ideally, you should floss after each meal but if you can’t do that, be sure to do it before going to bed at least. Like everything else, flossing is also a habit. Once you do it for a couple of days, it will become a part of your routine.
Cut Back on Sugary/Acidic Drinks and Ensure Hydration
Most people have a regular hankering for a cup of coffee or tea first thing in the morning. While there’s nothing wrong with caffeine loaded drinks, you should cut back the exposure your teeth has with such acidic drinks. When you throw processed sugar, syrups, creams, and milk in the mix – the damage is even more profound. It multiplies the odds of developing cavities.
We suggest that you thoroughly rinse your mouth after each cup of tea/coffee. Syrups and sugars stay for prolonged periods in your mouth. Rinsing ensures that your saliva doesn’t get too sugary and start attacking your teeth.
Treatment Options for Tooth Cavities:
To fill a tooth, your dentist would use a drill to remove all the decayed portion of the tooth. He will then use a substance which can be gold, silver, or a composite resin to fill the cavities. After some it, the substance hardens and looks like part of the natural teeth.
If the decay is severe, your oral health expert may suggest placing a cap over the teeth to replace the natural crown. He/she can get it custom made for you to ensure proper fitting. Before performing the procedure, your dentist will first remove all the decayed portion of the tooth.
Sometimes the decay is so much that it can damage the nerves of your teeth. In that case, your dentist may have to perform a root canal procedure to salvage the tooth. RCT or root canal entails removing the nerve and the blood vessel tissues from the problem area.
After checking the area for infection, he/she will apply medication to the root (if needed). Ultimately, your dentist may use a filling or crown to protect the tooth from further damage.
Early Stage Treatment
If you’re able to make a dental appointment in time when the cavity is only in the early stages, a fluoride treatment may be enough to restore the lost enamel and put a stop to any further decay.
A sealant is a thin plastic coating that your dentist would pain over the chewing surface. The idea is to create a thin film that prevents or at least slows down the pace of decay. The sealant sticks with the depression and the grooves all over the teeth; forming a protective layer over the enamel.
Removal of the Tooth
It’s every dentist’s effort to salvage and protect the infected tooth to the best of their abilities. But, sometimes the decay is so much that removing the teeth from the socket may be the only viable option. You would need to talk with your dentist to figure out the best course of action in such a case.
If you can follow all the preventive measures we discussed in this post religiously, you can save a lot of emergency trips to a dental office. After all, prevention is better than cure. But, if the damage has occurred, do talk to a professional.