April 2, 2017
Almost everyone in the US has at least one cavity. Tooth decay is probably the most widespread dental health problem. Despite being so common, there are plenty of misconceptions about them. For example, did you know sugar does not directly cause cavities?
What’s worse is how cavities keep getting bigger until they are treated. That means what starts out as a small cavity could require a root canal or even a tooth removal if it’s not treated soon enough.
That’s why you need to call our Fairfax, VA dental office today at 703-552-2530 and make an appointment. Dental cleanings help keep your teeth healthy, while dental exams can find problems while they are still small and more affordable to fix.
How You Get Tooth Decay
Why do your teeth get cavities? It’s because of some pesky harmful bacteria. Everyone has some of these in their mouths. They’re harmful because they produce an acid. When the bacteria are living on your teeth, they cluster together. All that acid erodes holes in your enamel, and these holes are called cavities or tooth decay.
The bacteria survive on tiny particles of food and drink that get trapped in your mouth. They thrive on sugar, which is why candy and regular soda is bad for your teeth. It’s not the sugar so much as the sugar helps bacteria multiply.
Cavities can be hard to detect. That’s because you have no nerve endings in your enamel. You could have several cavities right now and not know it. Only trained, experienced dentists like Dr. Laura Ki can spot cavities, which is why dental exams are so important.
Biggest Tips For Avoiding Cavities
Then how can you avoid getting those holes in your enamel? Here are the three biggest tips for keeping your smile healthy:
- Only eat sugar and carb-heavy foods occasionally. Again, sugar just lets those harmful bacteria get out of control. But carbohydrates are very similar to sugar and can also increase your risk of cavities and gum disease.
- Brush and floss daily. Both are needed to get rid of the food particles feeding those bacteria.
- Visit our Fairfax, VA dental office every six months. Regular dental cleanings and dental exams are vital to keeping your teeth strong and healthy.
Unusual Facts About Cavities You Should Know
If a cavity grows too big, you’ll need a dental crown.
Until they are treated, cavities keep growing. Because there are no nerves in your enamel, that means your cavity could grow so big that a dental filling won’t work anymore. There’s just not enough healthy enamel for that filling to bond with and stay put.
In these cases, Dr.Ki can use a dental crown instead. These tooth-shaped caps wrap around the whole tooth, holding it tightly together. This seals up the cavity so it stops growing, but it also lets you use that tooth normally again.
If a cavity grows too deep, you’ll need a root canal.
But the size of the cavity isn’t the only thing you have to worry about. If a cavity gets too deep, the bacteria causing tooth decay will infect your dental pulp. This causes a bad toothache, but it also starts to starve the tooth. The enamel grows brittle.
If this happens, you will need a root canal. This restorative dentistry procedure is not very painful like you might have heard. It will remove the infection and save the tooth — if it’s done soon enough.
Ignore a cavity long enough, and you will need a dental extraction.
Fillings, dental crowns, and root canals can all be used to help fix the problems that come with tooth decay. However, it’s entirely possible for a tooth to be too damaged to save. If the cavity is big enough, you might need a dental extraction to remove the tooth.
You can get metal-free fillings at our Fairfax, VA dental office.
Dental fillings are often the best way to repair the damage from tooth decay, but you don’t have to get unsightly metal fillings anymore. At our Fairfax, VA dental office, you can get metal-free fillings made from a tooth-colored composite resin. These work just like metal fillings, but they blend in with your smile.
Call us TODAY at 703-552-2530 and make an appointment with Dr. Laura Ki. You can also request an appointment online. Remember that you can have growing cavities without knowing it. Thankfully, Dr. Ki and her highly skilled team can find and treat cavities before it’s too late — but you have to make that call first.