Tooth decay, also known as cavities or dental caries, is a common dental concern that many people suffer from. This is when the tooth’s surface suffers physical damage from several factors working together. It often appears as a small hole but can grow larger over time without treatment. Proper oral hygiene is a very important habit and key to avoiding tooth decay. Design Dental offers treatment options for tooth decay in North Liberty, IA.
What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay is a progressive disease that attacks the surface of the tooth. When plaque builds up on the teeth, the bacteria in it produce acids that will eat away the top layer of the tooth, the enamel. Left untreated, it can destroy a tooth, leading to pain, sensitivity, and even tooth loss.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
Several things work together to cause tooth decay. The number one reason for this is the lack of proper oral hygiene. However, a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and bacteria in the mouth also play a role. Cavities can also run in the family. While we can’t help our genetics, we can take good care of our teeth to fight decay. Excess fluoride exposure, dry mouth, certain medicines, and some medical conditions can also lead to tooth cavities.
What is Plaque?
Understanding what plaque is will help you understand what tooth decay is and how to prevent it. Plaque is a sticky substance that is filled with bacteria. It forms on the teeth and gums constantly. When we eat food, particles and debris are left behind, and when they combine with the plaque, it produces acid that causes cavities. The only way to avoid this is to remove the plaque from your teeth and gums. This is why it is important to brush and floss every single day, multiple times a day.
Treatment Options for Tooth Decay
If you have a cavity, your dentist will recommend the appropriate treatment based on the severity of the decay.
- Dental Filling: this is a composite resin material that your dentist will use to fill in the dental cavity. It will stop the decay from progressing and fix the damage tooth decay has caused. Learn more about dental fillings by visiting Dental Fillings.
- Dental Crown: if the decay was left untreated for a long time, it can affect a large portion of the tooth. In this case, your dentist may want to place a dental crown. It will strengthen the tooth to prevent further damage. To learn more about the long-term benefits of dental crowns, visit Dental Crowns.
- Tooth Extraction: if the decay has damaged a large portion of the tooth and it cannot be saved, your dentist may need to extract it. To learn more about the tooth extraction process, visit Tooth Extraction.
- Root Canal: this treatment may be necessary if the decay has entered the center portion of the tooth and caused an infection. A root canal involves removing the infection from center of the tooth and filling in the space with a material called gutta percha.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Decay?
Preventing tooth decay is easy. Following a basic oral hygiene routine is the best thing you can do avoid cavities. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride based toothpaste. You need to floss at least once a day to remove food particles and debris from in between your teeth. Visiting our dental office in North Liberty, IA is important. Here, we will screen for tooth decay and clean your teeth. Maintaining a healthy diet with limited sugar and starchy food will also help prevent tooth decay.
To schedule your regular checkup where we will screen for tooth decay in North Liberty, IA, call our office at (319) 284-4361. You can also book an appointment online by filling out our form.