Cavities: you have probably been warned about them since you were a child, but adults are just as likely to develop them. Every day, Wayne Myles, DDS, and his team at Smiles by Myles offer treatment for cavities at their Reston office. But how exactly do cavities form? By understanding this dental health problem, you can better understand how to prevent them – and how to treat them if they develop.
HOW DO CAVITIES FORM?
Everyone has bacteria in their mouths. These bacteria survive on the sugars that exist in the food we eat. It’s normally nothing dangerous – it’s just a part of everyday life. But if these bacteria are allowed to thrive and become overgrown, they can cause damage to your teeth in the form of decay and cavities.
When a person consumes an excess of sugary foods, while failing to brush and floss properly to clear away bacteria, they can form colonies around your teeth – you may know these bacteria colonies as plaque. In later stages, these plaque colonies can harden into another form called tartar, which is much more difficult to get rid off without the help of a dental professional.
As these bacteria colonies grow, they emit acids that can eat through the enamel of your tooth, forming a small hole that you will know as a cavity. While cavities start small, once the hole is formed bacteria can swarm inside and eat away at the tooth that much more quickly, causing more extensive damage that may be more difficult to treat.
HOW CAN I PREVENT CAVITIES?
A little bit of preventative action can go a long way in protecting yourself from having cavities form in the first place. The most important thing that anyone can do to prevent cavities is to brush and floss daily. Twice a day is sufficient, although the best scenario is to brush and floss after every meal. An antibacterial mouthwash is also effective in cleaning out bacteria that a toothbrush might have missed.
Some people are born with teeth full of deep natural crevices – prime real estate for bacteria to hide out and multiply. If your teeth fit this profile, your cosmetic dentist may recommend sealants. A sealant is a thin coating painted onto the surface of molars and premolars to protect against tooth decay-forming bacteria. Sealants are most often recommended to children, but adults who are more susceptible to cavities can also benefit greatly from the treatment.
HOW ARE CAVITIES TREATED?
Even with the best preventative measures, cavities can still form. If your cavity is still small, your dentist will most likely recommend a filling. Today’s technology offers natural-looking tooth-colored fillings made of a composite resin to closely match the color and texture of your tooth, providing another option along with the standard metal alloy fillings.
If your tooth decay is more advanced, it may require a root canal or more extensive removal of the damaged enamel in order to correct the problem. In this case, a filling is not enough and dental crowns may be used to cap or replace the damaged teeth.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CAVITY TREATMENT TODAY
If you are suffering from tooth pain, or think you might have a cavity forming, don’t hesitate to seek treatment. Contact Dr. Myles at Smiles By Myles to schedule an appointment and learn more about cavity treatment options today.