What is a Cavity?

Cavities, otherwise known as a dental caries, are caused by tooth decay. You can develop a cavity between the teeth, by your gums, and in the small gaps and grooves of teeth. A cavity can disturb the enamel and dentin of a tooth, causing damage to the tooth that will not heal on its own.

Without care, everyday foods such as milk, bread, and candy can increase the potential for cavities to form. When sugars and starches from foods build up in your mouth, bacteria can feed on these sticky deposits in the mouth’s crevices and cause tooth decay.

People of all ages can get cavities but they are most common for younger and older age groups. Young children and teenagers often favor acidic foods and drinks and are less likely to brush regularly, while older groups have exposed their teeth to a lifetime of wear. As we age, our gum lines also recede, exposing more areas for plaque to build up.

If you have a cavity, you would feel some discomfort and sensitivity while eating hot, cold or sugary foods. A dentist will be able to find a cavity through x-rays. When a cavity is treated, a dentist removes the decay and fills the tooth with a white composite filling.

In more severe cases, the decay can affect a tooth’s roots and pulp. A patient may then need root canal capped off with dental implant to restore it. 

After Cavity Fillings: 

There may be some discomfort after a cavity filling. Please be careful for about 1-3 hours after the filling because your mouth still may be numb. Avoid chewing sticky foods such as gum because they might pull on the newly filled tooth. You can take over the counter NSAIDs to ease any discomfort.

Prevention: 

Minerals found in saliva and other enamel building substances can help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride from our toothpastes, mouthwash, and tap water can strengthen teeth. Also, simply flossing your teeth can help rid of any bacteria that may be in between the teeth.
Sealants and fluoride treatments will help prevent cavities even further. These procedures are recommended for young children, so that tooth decay can be prevented from the start. Sealants are typically placed on molars to coat the small groves where bacteria can hide. Fluoride treatments are also placed onto teeth in the form of gel, foam, or varnish. Moreover, try to avoid any sugary and starches foods and maintain a healthier diet. 

At Premier Dental Associates of Lower Manhattan, we strive to keep our patient’s teeth healthy and strong. If you feel any tooth discomfort and think you may have a cavity, please make an appointment with us!