Did you know that tooth decay is largely preventable?
Although it is a largely preventable disease, tooth decay remains a leading dental health concern that affects patients of all ages. With adequate oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, tooth decay is often preventable.
Tooth decay is progressive and will worsen if left untreated. Regular dental health exams allow for early treatment and can protect the teeth and gums from further damage caused by tooth decay. Rockville dentist Dr. Ali Sarkarzadeh offers treatment options for repairing decayed tooth structure.
What Causes Tooth Cavities?
Have you ever had a cavity and wondered where it came from? Cavities are caused by tooth decay, which softens tooth enamel and compromises the tooth structure. But what causes tooth decay, and cavities as a result? There are several causes of tooth decay that you should keep in mind:
- Poor oral hygiene. Not brushing teeth regularly allows bacteria and plaque to form on and around teeth and gums. Brushing and flossing removes food particles from between teeth. Brushing teeth also prevents mineral loss, slowing the breakdown of tooth enamel.
- Dry mouth. Saliva helps wash away food particles and reduce plaque. If dry mouth is not treated, patients may be more prone to tooth decay as well as other dental problems like trouble chewing and swallowing food.
- Sugary foods and drinks. Foods can become trapped between teeth and are not completely removed by brushing and flossing. Sugary foods and drinks can damage tooth enamel because of their acid content. In addition, acids produced by bacteria can cause cavities in teeth.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay is caused by a bacterial build-up often a result of poor oral hygiene. When food or debris gets trapped between teeth or in the crevices of the tooth crown, plaque, and tartar being to form. Bacteria multiply and leave behind an acidic byproduct that erodes tooth enamel.
Once the protective coating becomes compromised, infection is common and can spread to the root of the tooth. Root canal infections are painful and may require a root canal or tooth extraction. Early diagnosis of tooth decay is essential for conservative treatment.
Treatments for Tooth Cavities
Treatment for tooth decay will vary depending on the progression of the cavity. Dr. Sarkarzadeh will help patients determine which treatment option will offer long-term results and support optimal oral health. Dr.Sarkarzadeh will always attempt to preserve as much of the natural tooth as possible to help support long-term oral stability.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Most patients will experience tooth decay at some point in their lives. Tooth decay can have a range of causes, including a diet high in sugar, inadequate oral health care, poor oral hygiene, and other oral health-related conditions.
Adequate oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and regular dental health exams can help to avoid tooth decay. Early detection of cavities is essential to allow for conservative treatment and to prevent the need for restorative treatments or even a tooth extraction. Daily oral hygiene is important for maintaining the health of your natural smile.
Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day helps to reduce the risk of tooth decay. At-home oral hygiene is your first defense against complex oral health concerns and can keep your teeth healthy in between dentist visits. Visiting the dentist every six months is one of the best things you can do for your oral and overall well-being.
Our Congressional dental care team places an emphasis on disease prevention. At routine visits, we will provide you with a thorough oral screening and check for the early signs of tooth cavities, oral cancer, and gum disease.
Tooth Cavities FAQs
Can you stop a cavity once it starts?
Once a cavity starts you have a limited amount of time to stop and reverse the damage. Our bodies do an incredible job of healing themselves. Tooth enamel can repair itself by utilizing the minerals in saliva as fluoride.
How long before a cavity needs to be filled?
Once a cavity is found it is wise to attempt to fill it within the next month to prevent it from getting worse and causing more damage. Cavities grow slowly so most patients can wait longer without any issues, however, the sooner you can fill a cavity the easier the filling will be.
How many cavities are normal per person?
Each patient is different. The National Institute of Health says that over 90% of adults will have cavities in their lifetime. In a study performed, it was calculated that the average amount of cavities an individual has in their lifetime is 3.28
How long do cavity fillings last?
The average cavity filling lasts about 15 years before needing a replacement. They may last longer or shorter depending on the diet and oral care routine of the patient. Patients who grind or clench their teeth are also more prone to wearing through their fillings quicker than their life expectancy.
Is getting a cavity filled painful?
Prior to filling the cavity, you will be numbed by a local anesthetic. Patients may feel some pressure, but they should not feel any pain during the procedure. After the numbing agent has worn off patients may feel some slight tender pain in the area.
Schedule An Oral Health Exam
Dr. Sarkarzadeh and the American Dental Association recommended visiting the dentist once every six months for a dental health exam and professional teeth cleaning. Contact our Rockville, MD dentist office, or request an appointment online
. We welcome new patients from Rockville, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, Aspen Hill, Rollins Park, and all surrounding communities.