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An Overview of Cavities and Tooth Decay

October 7, 2020
Posted By: Norco Family Dental
Teeth with cavities before and after dental fillings in Greeley CO

Did you know that after the common cold, tooth decay is the second most common disease? It’s unfortunate because preventing cavities is easy for most people. When done together, excellent oral hygiene, a nutritious diet, and routine exams and teeth cleanings can help keep your teeth healthy and cavity-free

How Cavities & Tooth Decay Develop

Your Greeley dentist wants you to know how cavities develop to help you understand how you can prevent them.

  • Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, saliva, and bacteria that adheres to your teeth. When you eat starches or sugar or don’t brush your teeth well, bacteria create acid that demineralizes your tooth enamel, creating tiny holes.
  • Bacteria and acid can now penetrate your tooth enamel and reach the softer layer beneath called dentin. Because dentin involves the tooth’s nerve, it can cause sensitivity or a mild toothache.
  • Without treatment, bacteria and acid enter the innermost part of your tooth called the pulp. Dental pulp carries blood vessels and nerves, and when the cavity reaches this part of your tooth, the result is typically a severe toothache.

Symptoms of Cavities

The most noticeable symptom of tooth decay is tooth pain. However, in the early stages, you may not have any symptoms at all. As the decay worsens, you may notice the following:

  • Toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain when you bite down
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Dark spots on your teeth

Untreated cavities get larger over time and can ultimately lead to an excruciating toothache, root infection, and tooth loss.

If you get a cavity, your dentist will need to remove the decay and place a filling. Tooth-colored fillings in Greeley, CO resemble the shade and translucent appearance of your teeth and create a seamless repair.

How to Avoid Cavities

You can take several steps to avoid tooth decay. The first is to brush your teeth conscientiously at least twice a day and floss once. Also, limit sweets, starches, and acids in your diet as both contribute to tooth decay.

Stay current with your six-month dental appointments for teeth cleanings and dental exams in Greeley, CO. If you don’t feel confident about your brushing and flossing skills, ask your dental hygienist to demonstrate the proper technique.

Schedule a Dental Exam in Greeley, CO

If you think you have a cavity or you are due for your next dental exam, instead of searching "dentist near me," contact our Greeley dental office for an appointment.

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