Only about 8% of Americans have never had a cavity. This means that most people have experienced this unfortunate situation. Treating a cavity is fast and easy in its early stages. However, the more tooth decay is allowed to progress, the more complex the treatment becomes. Learn how to spot a cavity early with Dr. Greg Herzler in Saginaw, MI.
How does tooth decay work?
Tooth decay begins as bacteria on your teeth. The carbohydrates in the foods you eat, especially sugary drinks or candies, feed the bacteria. Eventually, the bacteria grow into plaque, the first phase of tooth decay. This sticky substance clings to the teeth unless removed by brushing and flossing. However, if it is not knocked away, plaque hardens into tartar. The decay eats through the tooth until it reaches the tooth’s inner pulp chamber and nerve, causing a toothache.
How to Spot a Cavity
Tooth decay often starts as small white spots on the tooth where the tooth’s minerals have begun to break down. This is one of the earliest signs of decay. As the decay continues to break down the tooth’s minerals, it eventually eats through the tooth’s outer layers to form a hole, called a cavity. This hole usually appears as a brown spot. The cavity gets bigger and bigger, destroying the tooth in the process. Eventually, the decay infects the inner tooth, causing a toothache, bad breath or sensitivity to hot/cold.
Cavity Treatment in Saginaw, MI
Dentists usually treat cavities which have not yet reached the tooth’s nerve and inner pulp chamber with a simple dental filling. During this procedure, your dentist removes the decayed portion of the tooth then replaces them with a tooth-colored composite filling material. In cases where the decay reaches further into the tooth to infect the nerve, your dentist will probably recommend a root canal. This procedure removes the infected decay within the inner pulp chamber and the nerve itself, cleans the tooth to ensure no decay remains behind, then fills the tooth with composite resin materials. Teeth which have undergone a root canal often require a dental crown to protect them afterward.
For more information on tooth decay or its treatment, please contact Dr. Herzler in Saginaw, MI. Call (989) 793-7733 to schedule your dental examination and cleaning with Dr. Herzler today!