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Cavities and Dental Decay: All the Things You Should Know About

Cavities and Dental Decay Information

What Is the Definition of Dental Decay?

Damage to a tooth's surface, or enamel, is known as tooth decay. It occurs when bacteria in your mouth produce acids that eat away your teeth' enamel. 

Cavities (dental caries) are holes in your teeth caused by tooth decay. If left untreated, dental decay can lead to discomfort, infection, and even tooth loss.


What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Cavities and Tooth Decay?

You normally don't notice any symptoms of early tooth decay. Tooth decay can lead to a variety of problems as it progresses.


What Are the Causes of Tooth Decay?

Bacteria abound in our mouths and some bacteria can be beneficial.

However, some, such as those that contribute to tooth decay, can be harmful.

Plaque is formed when bacteria interact with food to form a soft, sticky coating.

Plaque bacteria produce acids from the sugar and starch in your food and drink. The acids start to chip away your enamel's minerals.

Fluoride is found in toothpaste, water, and other products. This fluoride, in combination with your saliva, aids enamel healing by replacing minerals.

All-day long, your teeth go through this normal process of losing and regaining minerals. 

However, if tooth decay persists, more minerals will be lost. Enamel weakens and deteriorates over time, resulting in a cavity.

A cavity is a hole in your tooth that is filled with bacteria. The best dentist must use a filling to fix the irreversible damage.


Also Read: How Long Does a Root Canal Last?


Who Is Susceptible to Dental Decay?


How Are Cavities and Tooth Decay Diagnosed?

By looking at your teeth and probing them with dental devices, dentists can typically detect tooth disease and cavities.

Your dentist will also inquire about any symptoms you are experiencing. A dental x-ray may be required on occasion.

At Kirkland Premier Dentistry Dr. Gaurav Sharma has 400+ hours of Continuing education from the prestigious AAID (American Academy of Implant Dentistry)

He applies for the latest research & advances in dentistry to provide the best dental care to patients.


What Are the Treatments for Cavities and Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay and cavities can be treated in a variety of ways. The type of treatment you receive is determined by the severity of the problem:


Treatments with Fluoride 

A fluoride treatment might help the enamel heal itself if you have early tooth decay.



If you have a normal cavity, your dentist will remove the decayed tooth tissue and then fill it with a filling substance to restore the tooth.


Root Canal

A root canal is a procedure that removes the roots of the tooth. A root canal may be required if the tooth has been damaged and/or infection has progressed to the pulp (inside the tooth). 

Your dentist will clean the inside of the tooth and remove the decayed pulp. The next step is to place a temporary filling in the tooth.

Then you'll have to return for a permanent filling or a crown (a cover on the tooth).


Tooth Extraction (Pulling Out the Tooth) 

When the pulp damage is too severe to repair, your dentist may recommend pulling out the tooth.

To replace the missing tooth, your dentist will recommend a bridge or dental implant. Otherwise, the teeth on either side of the gap may shift and alter your bite.


Is It Possible to Avoid Tooth Decay?

There are things you may do to keep your teeth from decaying:

Dr. Gaurav Sharma Dr. Gaurav Sharma Dr. Gaurav Sharma has been in practice since 2015, after graduating with his DDS from New York University with honors in Implant Dentistry that same year. Before moving to the U.S., Dr. Gaurav practiced in India for 4 years as an Associate Dentist after graduating from one of the top dental schools in India with a Bachelors's in Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2009. He is a good listener who takes time to explain different treatment options so patients fully understand. He takes pride in bringing smiles back to his patients. With his experience, skills & passion for dentistry, Dr. Sharma can provide the best dental care to his patients.

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