Dental Cavities, also known as tooth decay or dental caries, are damaged areas in the hard surface of the teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes. It is a common disorder which mostly affects children and young adults. Dental cavity is one of the most common causes of tooth loss.
Cavities are caused by tooth decay.Tooth cavities are caused by a substance called plaque which is a sticky film like substance that coats the teeth. This is formed by a combination of bacteria, saliva, acid and food particles. Plaque that remains on your teeth can harden and create a shield for bacteria to grow and damage the teeth’s outer enamel. Causes for plaque formation and tooth decay are:
- Frequent snacking on sugary foods
- Consuming sugary drinks
- Poor oral hygiene
Symptoms of tooth cavities depend on the severity of the decay. Symptoms include:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth pain
- Visible holes in the teeth
- Black or white staining on the teeth
- Pain when you bite on food and eating or drinking something hot, cold or sweet
Dental cavities can be diagnosed by:
- Review of symptoms
- Dental exam
- Dental x-rays
- Regular dental checkups.
- Good oral hygiene
- Limit snacks.
- Eat nutritious and balanced diets.
- Drink fluoridated water.
- Rinse daily with fluoride-containing mouthwash.
Regular dental checkups can identify cavities before they lead to more serious problems. Treatment options include:
- Fillings, also called restorations, are the major treatment option for tooth decay when it has progressed beyond the earliest stage. They are made of various materials such as composite resins, porcelain or dental amalgam.
- Fluoride treatment may help restore your teeth’s enamel and reverse a cavity at a very early stage.
- Crowns are custom fitted coverings for the tooth. Crowns are used when teeth are extensively decayed.
- Root canal is done to save a severely damaged tooth without removing it, when cavity or damage reaches the pulp of your tooth.
- Tooth extraction is removal of the tooth. It is done when the tooth becomes severely damaged.
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