Have you ever wondered how you can have a cavity if you never felt it forming? Cavities happen slowly over time, and often you won’t know they are there unless a dentist finds them with dental tools and technology, or until decay has grown large enough to cause you pain and sensitivity. That is why getting dental exams is so important before a cavity forms. However, if you already have a cavity, find out how we found that cavity in the first place and how we fix it!
Cavities: What are They?
To properly diagnose and prevent cavities, it helps to understand what they are. Tooth decay, caries, or the most widely-used term, cavities, are holes in the enamel and dentin layers of your tooth. The white, hard surface on the outside of your tooth is the enamel and the yellow layer just below is the dentin. These two layers work together to guard the living tooth tissue–pulp–which houses the blood vessels and nerves of your tooth.
When decay spreads to the dentin of your tooth, quick action is needed to stop the decay from spreading. Decay spreads more quickly through dentin because it is much softer than enamel. When decay reaches the dentin, treatment is mandatory. A small cavity can be repaired with either an amalgam filling (composed of silver and other metals) or a tooth-colored resin material.
Prevent Tooth Decay from Progressing with a Tooth Filling
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay or trauma back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, Dr. Niles will first remove any decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. A filling also helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter. Dr. Niles uses composite resins which are custom made to the exact color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance.
Signs of a Cavity
Preventative care is the best way to keep cavities away, but catching one early can help make treatment easier. Here are some common signs that may mean you have one that you can watch out for:
- Toothache or a dull pain in your mouth.
- Teeth sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweets
- Visible holes or pits in your teeth or discoloration
- Chalky white spots on your teeth
- Fracturing teeth
- Sensitivity to biting pressure
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
Schedule a Cavity Prevention Consultation and Exam
Think you might have a cavity, or would like to learn how to prevent them? Our Niles Family Dentistry team is available whenever you have questions or concerns. Your child, and your family, have a home with us! We are committed to offering you state-of-the-art technology with expert skills so you can get the most out of your visits with us. Dr. Niles is a family dentist in Niwot, Colorado, with convenient access to the communities of Boulder, Longmont, Lafayette, and Louisville. Niles Family Dentistry offers state-of-the-art family dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. Call for your appointment today at (720) 744-0001. We look forward to meeting you and your family!