What you should know about cavities

What You Should Know About Cavities

What keeps people from having a cavity filled? Generally, the answer comes down to one of two important issues: fear of the dentist or concern about the cost of the treatment. However, if you have a cavity, there are a few reasons you should get it filled immediately.

How are cavities formed?

Before you can understand why a cavity should be filled, you’ll need to understand how they’re formed. You see, a cavity is the result of acids, which decay your tooth structure over time. There are millions of bacteria in your mouth. Some bacteria is good, but the harmful bacteria begins to form a white sticky plaque on your teeth. Whenever you eat or drink sugary beverages, that plague (aka the bad bacteria) uses the sugar as food!

The plaque then creates acids that eat away at the outer layer of your teeth (aka enamel). Sadly, once your enamel is decayed and the damage is done, there’s nothing you can do to get it back. You won’t be able to reverse the damage caused by a cavity after it’s formed, even with brushing and flossing—but you can stop it from progressing. And sometimes, when caught early, you can reverse the demineralization (aka stop the cavity from even developing).

So why do cavities happen?

As you probably guessed, problems with cavities usually start when you neglect brushing and flossing and regular trips to the dentist. Cavities can form within 48 hours, which is why you want to brush at least 2x a day and floss at least 1x a day. That way, you’re less likely to “miss a spot” which would allow that mean-old plaque to harm your teeth. Additionally, a dental hygienist is able to clean in a way that your toothbrush and floss can’t. This is why you need to see us at least 2x a year, unless you have developed periodontal disease—then you need to see us more frequently.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention half of American adults suffer from gum disease and if you’re 65 years or older the prevalence rate of advanced periodontal disease increases to 70.1 percent! In other words, gum disease results from that very same bad bacteria and it’s likely you will need to be seen more frequently to keep it in check.

When you have a cavity

Sometimes, in spite of being proactive with our oral health, cavities develop. Some of us are (unfortunately) more genetically inclined to develop cavities. However, you can choose to have a filling placed, which will restore the functionality of your tooth and stop decay from spreading further.

Having cavities filled is virtually painless, especially if you fill the cavity as soon as it appears. We understand how fear or cost, can cause people to procrastinate treatment —but we’ve found that procrastination ends up causing you more pain, time, and money. So always complete treatment based on your needs and not your insurance coverage. The benefits of investing in your health will always outweigh the cost of not having a cavity filled immediately.

If you are worried that you have a cavity or haven’t been to the dentist in awhile, we recommend scheduling a reservation. Our office uses advanced technology and our highly educated team will develop a plan to help you address any issues. Remember, procrastination isn’t going to make the problem go away. We invite you to be proactive in your health, and together we will keep you smiling.

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