Cavities are holes in your teeth that happen from permanent tooth enamel damage.
When your tooth enamel is damaged from acids, bacteria, and plaque, it can cause a light or dark spot on your tooth. If left to progress, this “stain” can become a hole that allows bacteria access to the softer tissues inside your tooth.
Eventually, a cavity can compromise your entire tooth and either require a root canal or extraction to fix. Catching cavities early and treating them is the best way to stop decay from ruining your teeth.
About 90% of adults older than 20 have had at least one cavity, and 52% of children between the ages of six and eight have had a cavity in their baby teeth. With the prevalence of tooth decay in both adults and children, it’s imperative to both prevent cavities and correct them once they happen.
But how do you get rid of cavities? Here’s how to get rid of cavities and protect your smile.
When a Cavity Is Just Starting
If your cavity is in its early stages, you may be able to reverse the damage with professional fluoride treatment. Tooth decay that presents as a white or dark spot on the tooth enamel may be able to be fixed with a fluoride treatment at your dentist’s office.
However, your options for treating a new cavity will depend on the location of the cavity and how advanced it is. Your Asheville dentist will review potential treatments with you depending on your unique smile and the cavity’s location.
Once the Cavity Has Progressed
Once tooth decay progresses to the point that it is an actual hole in your tooth, it will generally require a filling to make it go away.
A filling is when your dentist in Asheville uses a material to fill the hole in your tooth after carefully removing all the decayed material and cleaning the inside of the cavity. These materials can include composite resin, glass ionomer, and even porcelain ceramic, depending on the specific cavity.
After getting a filling, your dentist will mold the material to look just like your natural teeth so the filling will be virtually invisible in your mouth. Dental fillings can last for years, but will eventually need to be repaired or replaced to continue protecting your smile.
If the Decay Is Extensive
Many cavities can be treated with non mercury fillings. However, if the decay is extensive, a filling may not help restore your tooth. Cases in which a filling may not fix the problem include:
- The decay has reached the center of your tooth. If the cavity is deep enough that it involves the nerves and blood vessels at the center of your tooth, a filling alone will not fix the problem. At this point, you will need root canal therapy to clear the center of the tooth and fill the hole. You may also need a dental crown to protect the tooth after the procedure.
- The cavity is near an existing filling. It’s possible to get a cavity on the same tooth where you have an existing filling. If you have tooth decay near a dental filling, your dentist may not be able to repair the tooth with another filling, depending on the size and location of the cavity. You may need a dental crown to help restore your tooth if you have repeated cavities on the same tooth.
- You have a tooth infection. When tooth decay is extensive, it can cause an infection. This generally happens once the decay has reached the center of your tooth. If you have a tooth infection, your dentist will need to treat the infection and potentially perform a root canal before your tooth can be fixed with a filling.
Can You Get Rid of Cavities Naturally?
Although certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as calcium and vitamin D, can influence your risk for cavities, correcting these won’t make the cavity go away. Your tooth enamel can’t regrow itself, so once your tooth is damaged, it will need professional treatment to fix.
Of course, it’s always beneficial to eat nutritious foods, as your teeth use the nutrients you consume to stay strong and healthy. However, when it comes to cavities that have already formed, the best thing you can do is to not wait to get it repaired.
A cavity will get worse over time and can get large enough to jeopardize your entire tooth, which can limit your treatment options and potentially even require an extraction. The best way to get rid of a cavity is to have your dentist fill it as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
Things You Can Do to Help Prevent Cavities
Prevention is the best medicine, and this is true of cavities as well. It’s always easier to prevent a cavity than it is to try and fix the cavity once it has happened.
Fortunately, preventing cavities is relatively simple. You’ll need to maintain good oral hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing your teeth every day, and eating a healthy diet, focusing on fruits and vegetables and nutrient-rich proteins and fats. Remember that added sugar, such as that found in sweets, has been shown to increase your risk for tooth decay.
One of the most important things you can do to prevent cavities is to visit your dentist in Asheville regularly. Although every six months is a good general rule, how often you’ll need check-ups and cleanings will depend on your unique oral health.
Your dentist can not only help prevent cavities from forming in the first place, but they can also identify the early stages of a cavity to potentially reverse the process and minimize any treatment you would need for the decay.
Defend Your Smile Against Tooth Decay
Don’t wait to have your smile evaluated for tooth decay. If you’re due for a dental checkup and cleaning, contact Saunders DDS to book an appointment. Our team is focused on preventative care to keep your smile healthy and cavity-free for life. Call us at (828) 277-6060 or reach us online.
If you’re prone cavities, be sure to visit your dentist on a regular basis for check-ups. Call Dr Saunders DDS now to make an appointment to help with a beautiful smile. Call us at (828) 277-6060