While it can be a difficult process for some, having cavities treated at the earliest opportunity is essential to your overall health.
What Are Cavities?
Cavities, in short, are decay. When you don’t brush your teeth properly, bacteria on the surface of your teeth start to penetrate below the surface. If you eat a diet that’s heavy in sugar and carbohydrates, the bacteria on the surface of your teeth will consume the sugars and carbs and release acid that is harmful to your enamel. Cavities begin to form when that acid wears down the enamel just below the surface of your teeth.
How Do Dentists Treat Cavities?
The primary way to treat cavities is with fillings:
- During a filling procedure, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic so you won’t feel the procedure.
- They will then clear the decay from your teeth and fill the gap with a material to prevent future decay.
- This material can be anything from metals like gold, zinc, and silver to natural-looking resin and porcelain that isn’t noticeable when you talk or smile.
What Happens If I Leave a Cavity Untreated?
A few things can happen if you happen to skip out on your regular dental appointments and allow a cavity to go untreated:
- Increased Sensitivity: The initial signs of a cavity include your tooth becoming more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. You might notice that you can no longer enjoy that piping hot coffee in the morning. Or you might experience a toothache when you drink that refreshing glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day. This is your body warning you that there’s an issue with your tooth and it should be addressed quickly.
- Pain: Over time, your tooth will become more painful to use. Whether you’re chewing into a soft marshmallow or trying to bite into a sandwich, you’ll experience a swift and recurring pain that seems to radiate throughout your mouth. This is a clear sign that you need to see a dentist immediately.
- Swelling: If bacteria is able to reach your tooth’s pulp, it may become abscessed. This can result in swelling. This is your body telling you that it’s time to see a dentist before it’s too late. The swelling is related to the inflammation in that area of your mouth.
- May require a Root Canal or Extraction: If left untreated, a root canal treatment or extraction may be necessary. This is the result of an infection in the nerve of your tooth. A root canal can help you to keep the tooth without undergoing a full extraction. An extraction will be required if the damage is too extensive to repair. In this instance, the tooth will be completely removed.Early identification of a cavity by a dentist is the best approach to safeguarding your health over the coming years. Your dentist can help you to manage the problem and treat the cavity. To discover more about the process for treating cavities, book an appointment with us today.