The 5 most frequently asked questions about cavities (dental caries)
Do you have a question about cavities? Here are the 5 most frequently asked questions of dentists about dental caries.
What is tooth decay?
We often hear about cavities, but do you really know what it is? Whether we are talking about decay, tooth decay or a tooth cavity, it is the same thing: a hole that forms in the tooth! It is one of the most common infectious diseases, so don’t panic if you have it, but also one of the most preventable – we’ll see how later. Cavities are formed from acidic residues from the debris of the food you eat. This is because bacteria in your mouth turn food debris into acids, which attack your teeth. Hence the importance of brushing your teeth after every meal!
What are the causes of dental caries?
The most obvious cause is poor oral hygiene. Not brushing your teeth frequently enough or not effectively, or not flossing, all of this allows acids to attack your teeth. The consumption of sugary foods is also often involved.
Then, there are factors that you cannot control that can influence your propensity to have cavities: inheritance, thickness of tooth enamel, having a dry mouth, acid reflux. If you know you are at greater risk, your oral hygiene is all the more important.
What is the treatment for dental caries?
Cavities that are detected quickly, and therefore have not had time to reach the pulp of the tooth, are easy to treat with a filling. The dentist then comes to remove the decay and clean the tooth thoroughly before filling the hole that has formed in the tooth to stop its progression.
Otherwise, it will be necessary to resort to root canal treatment and the installation of a crown to preserve the tooth.
In more extreme cases where the tooth is too damaged, it may be necessary to extract the tooth, which will be replaced by an implant or a bridge.
What are the consequences of untreated dental caries?
If you have tooth decay that goes untreated, your tooth will deteriorate more and more over time. Here are the stages it will go through:
The first part of the tooth that will be damaged will be the enamel, since this is what covers the tooth.
A hole will then form when the enamel is passed through.
The next stage is damage to the pulp of the tooth, which often leads to a very painful abscess.
If left untreated at this stage, the pulp may become necrotic.
The bacteria then migrate to the tip of the tooth and attack neighboring tissues, this is called a periapical infection.
Eventually, the infection can even be transmitted via blood vessels to the whole body: lungs, eyes, heart, kidneys, joints, etc.
This is why it is important to visit your dentist regularly. Detecting and repairing cavities as quickly as possible will avoid many problems.
How to prevent dental caries?
The good news is that tooth decay can be prevented most of the time by having good oral hygiene. We wrote an article detailing the 5 most important points of oral hygiene: brushing teeth, flossing, fluoride, diet and visits to the dentist. Taking care of your oral hygiene pays off for your health!
We hope you now have your dental decay questions answered. For a dental exam in Laval, make an appointment now at our dental clinic.