Dental caries, or tooth cavities, are an unfortunate dental problem especially prevalent among children and adolescents. Tooth decay and dental cavities also affect adults and are most commonly caused by plaque build-up.
When plaque comes in contact with sugar and starch, it activates bacteria in plaque, causing it to attack and erode tooth enamel. As the tooth enamel breaks down and wears away, it leaves the tooth susceptible to the formation of dental cavities.
Dr. Cappy Sinclair and Dr. Mark Reichley are family dentists in Virginia Beach, offering a comprehensive preventative and general dentistry program to help prevent and treat tooth decay. Dr. Sinclair and Dr. Reichley use tooth-colored restorations, including composite dental fillings and porcelain tooth crowns.
If root canal therapy is needed, the treatment can often be completed in our Virginia Beach dental office in a single visit.
Tooth cavity symptoms vary from one person to another. In most cases, there will be no recognizable symptoms in the early stages of tooth cavity formation. A dentist, however, is likely to see signs of early tooth decay and can prevent the cavity from forming or getting worse.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Brush Teeth Twice a Day: Brushing your teeth at least two times a day is essential to removing plaque from the tooth surfaces and around the gums.
Use Fluoride Toothpaste: Fluoride is an important mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and helps to protect against tooth decay.
Floss Daily: Don’t skip the floss! Brushing only removes plaque from the front and back of teeth – flossing removes plaque from between teeth, where cavities often form.
Drink Plenty of Water: Avoid sugary drinks and soda. Water helps rinse the mouth and wash away plaque and bacteria. Dry mouth accelerates bacteria in the mouth, causing bad breath and can lead to cavities and gum disease.
Eat Healthy: Avoid snacking between meals. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Chew Sugarless Gum: Studies show that chewing sugarless gum with xylitol or sorbitol for just 20 minutes a day can reduce cavity formation. Look for the ADA seal on your pack of gum.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly: The ADA recommends that children and adults visit the dentist at least twice a year for routine exams, dental cleanings, and x-rays. These visits can help to intercept problems before they advance to tooth decay and cavities.
Treatment For Dental Cavities
If you already have tooth cavities or if your teeth are showing signs of decay, we offer a range of dental services to provide stability and protection to affected teeth.
- Composite resin dental fillings
- Porcelain inlays or onlays (partial crowns)
- Ceramic dental crowns
Most treatment for tooth cavities can be completed in a single visit. Composite resin fillings are applied directly to the teeth and cured with a special light.
Another technology used in our Virginia Beach dental office is the dental microscope. These high-powered instruments allow Dr. Sinclair and Dr. Reichley to provide a more accurate, comfortable, and conservative treatment for tooth decay.
Give us a call at 757-656-6368, or request a dental exam and consultation online today.
Tooth Cavities FAQs
What happens if you don’t treat a tooth cavity?
If you do not treat a cavity, it will continue to eat away at the tooth and continue deeper, working its way to the root of your tooth. This can cause severe tooth damage, infection, and tooth loss! A root canal may become necessary, or you risk losing your tooth altogether.
Can a tooth with a cavity heal itself?
After a cavity has formed, it cannot heal itself. Once a patient begins to feel pain from the tooth, they should see a dentist soon. This means that damage to the tooth is getting worse and needs treatment as soon as possible. Tooth enamel doesn’t grow back.
Do cavities spread from tooth to tooth?
Cavities do not spread from tooth to tooth; however, they can speed up the growth of other neighboring cavities if oral hygiene is poor in a specific area of the mouth.
Are cavities permanent?
Dental cavities are permanent. They are decayed areas of your tooth that develop into holes and openings. Fillings come in to replace the decayed tooth and strengthen your weakened tooth. Without a filling or crown, the cavity will only get larger and cause more harm.
What are the stages of a cavity?
The first stage of a cavity is when white spots appear on the tooth. Next, tooth enamel begins to decay. The decay continues to go deeper until it reaches the pulp. At this point, the patient will feel pain and will start to notice an issue. Developed cavities appear as black spots or holes in the tooth.