Also known as tooth decay, cavities are permanently damaged parts of the hard surface of the teeth that form into small openings or holes. When bread, cereal, cake, or other carbs remain on your teeth, the bacteria in your mouth turns them into acids. The bacteria, acid, debris, and saliva in your mouth all come together to form a substance called plaque, which holds on to the teeth. Cavities form when acids in plaque dissolve the enamel.
Although cavities are more common in children, just about anyone can get them. Cavities do not always show any symptoms so you may not know if you have one. That’s why, it’s essential to visit the dentist for regular checkups. During these checkups, they’ll probe your teeth, search for soft spots, or use x-rays to look between your teeth.
If they do find a cavity, your treatment will depend on its severity. In most cases, a filling, which involves removing the decayed portion of the tooth with a drill is recommended. If the root or pulp of your tooth is injured in a way that cannot be repaired, you may require a root canal. During a root canal, the damage part of the inside of your tooth is removed and the remaining pulp is cleaned. Your tooth is then filled and sealed.
Some patients wonder whether it’s possible to misdiagnose a cavity. The answer is yes, there is always the potential to under or over diagnose a cavity. The chances of this happening are rare and depend on a number of factors. Some of these factors include how conservative the dentist is and whether cavity detection dyes and other diagnostic aids that can help show the difference between normal and decayed tissue.
Contact River Run Dental
If you’d like more information on cavities or are wondering whether you have one, contact our Richmond, VA office. Feel free to call us at (804) 262-1060 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!