Pretty sure that no one is really surprised to hear the words “dentist” and “cavity” in the same sentence. As your dentist, though, we want to do our part toward making sure that your name and “cavity” don’t end up in the same sentence. So let’s talk about how we handle cavities and cavity treatment and, most importantly, cavity prevention here at Alliance Dental Group.
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a hole in the enamel of a tooth that enables decay and infection to spread throughout the rest of the tooth. (That’s the short of it. If you want the technical definition, then the Mayo Clinic’s got your back: click here.)
How do we find and treat cavities?
- It’s possible that you scheduled an appointment because you already have a toothache caused by a cavity. In that case, you’ve already found the cavity, and it’s probably fairly advanced.
- If you’re not aware of any cavities, however, one of the things that we do as a routine part of regular cleanings is check for cavities. When you come in for a cleaning, we’ll give you a thorough oral check up. The dentist will visually and clinically check the health of your teeth and gums. We’ll take x-rays that will help us see between your teeth and will show danger spots where the enamel is softening or thinning. If you have any cavities, we’ll discuss treatment options with you.
- Fillings are the simplest and most common way to treat cavities. A filling is exactly what it sounds like: taking porcelain then filling in the hole in the tooth so the damage doesn’t continue.
- If the cavity is more extensive and has compromised the structural strength of the whole tooth, then you might need a crown. A crown is a cap that is custom-fitted over the damaged tooth to protect and reinforce it once the dentist has cleared away the decayed areas.
- Last but not least, if the decay has reached the inside layers of the tooth, you might need a root canal. Root canal therapy is a remarkable treatment with a very high rate of success, and involves removing the diseased tissue inside the tooth, halting the spread of infection, and restoring the healthy portion of the tooth.
How can we help you prevent cavities?
We offer a couple of services that can help prevent cavities:
- We provide fluoride treatments! Fluoride is a mineral that helps teeth resist the acid caused by sugars and by germs that are in plaque, a film that collects on teeth. In a fluoride treatment, a concentrated fluoride paste, gel, foam, or varnish is applied to the surfaces of your teeth and allowed to sit for a few minutes. The fluoride coats the teeth, repairs early microscopic cavities, and reinforces the healthy enamel.
- Another way to protect against tooth decay is with sealants. Sealants are thin coatings applied to the chewing surfaces and are designed to prevent the intrusion of bacteria and other debris into the deep crevices on the tops of your teeth. If your family has a history of cavities, sealants might be a great preventative measure for you or your children.
- Regular cleanings are also a key component for keeping your teeth healthy, so make sure we see you on a regular basis!