About Those Pesky Cavities

With a track record that includes the permanent teeth of over 90% of adults in America, cavities are sort of a superstar of dental diseases. Even brushing and flossing your teeth every day isn’t a guaranteed defense against cavities, especially if you snack often, or don’t visit your dentist as regularly as you should. With a little…

With a track record that includes the permanent teeth of over 90% of adults in America, cavities are sort of a superstar of dental diseases. Even brushing and flossing your teeth every day isn’t a guaranteed defense against cavities, especially if you snack often, or don’t visit your dentist as regularly as you should. With a little knowledge about those pesky cavities, however, you can prevent them forming and consuming your healthy tooth structure.

Where Do Cavities Come From?

Cavities literally mean holes, and they form in teeth that are infected by oral bacteria (the miniscule microbes hide in plaque, which the bacteria also produce). When the germs consume sugar, they turn it into acid; when the acid meets your teeth, it erodes the enamel that protects them. Poor hygiene can allow the acid to destroy enamel, and allow the bacteria to reach and infect your tooth’s main structure, leaving a cavity in their wake as they consume the tooth.

What Do Cavities Look Like?

The appearance of a cavity differs from patient to patient, depending on how long the cavity has been allowed to progress. Typically, they’re localized, brownish or yellowish spots or holes, and may be as small as a pinhead or large enough to cover nearly the whole tooth. Still, just because your tooth looks okay doesn’t mean that it’s completely safe from cavity development.

Do You Have a Cavity Now?

Despite their sometimes-conspicuous appearance, cavities are more-often detected by the discomfort they cause. If you have a cavity, or if one is developing, your tooth will feel slightly, or severely, sensitive, depending on how far the decay has progressed. To treat the infection, your dentist will thoroughly clean the cavity and fill it with a tooth-colored, composite-resin filling to protect and reinforce the tooth. In extreme cases, root canal therapy might be needed to clean the tooth’s interior chamber and root.

ABOUT YOUR KNOXVILLE FAMILY DENTIST:

Jim Erpenbach, DDS, has proudly provided expert dentistry services to families in Knoxville, TN, and all surrounding communities, for over 28 years. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Erpenbach, call our office today at (865) 240-2035.

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