Are your teeth sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages? Have you recently noticed a toothache that doesn’t seem to go away and may be getting worse? If so, you may have a tooth cavity.
Washington, D.C. dentist, Dr. Andrew Cobb provides a wide range of general dentistry and preventive dental care services to prevent and treat tooth cavities in adults and children.
How Do Tooth Cavities Form?
Tooth cavities, called dental caries by dentists, are tooth decay, commonly caused by an infection that has demineralized the tooth enamel, producing a hole in the tooth. A number of factors cause tooth cavities, most often by plaque build up.
When plaque comes in contact with sugar and starch, it activates bacteria in plaque, causing it to attack and erode tooth enamel. As the tooth enamel breaks down and wears away, it leaves the tooth susceptible to the formation of cavities.
How to prevent cavities:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste (over the age of 2)
- Floss daily – cavities can also form between teeth
- Have a healthy diet, limit sugary snacks and soda
- Visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and exams
Tooth Cavity Symptoms
Tooth cavity symptoms vary from one patient to another. Many patients experience no tooth cavity symptoms in early stages, not realizing there is a problem until the tooth decay has advanced. A dentist, however, is likely to see signs of early tooth decay and help to prevent the formation and progression of tooth cavities.
Common tooth cavity symptoms may include:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Pain when eating hot or cold foods and beverages
- Visible holes in teeth
- Pus around the tooth and gums
Dental Caries Treatment
If you already have tooth cavities or if you are showing signs of tooth decay, the dentist may recommend a range of dental services to provide stability and protection to affected teeth.
Cosmetic dental fillings, also called tooth colored dental fillings, are used to treat teeth with early stages of tooth decay. For teeth with more extensive tooth decay, Dr. Cobb may use a porcelain filling (dental inlay or onlay) to give the tooth additional strength.
If you require a root canal, Dr. Cobb may place a dental crown on the tooth to protect from future damage and restore proper function.
Schedule a Consultation
Prevention is the best way to fight tooth decay and dental cavities. Request an appointment with Dr. Cobb in Washington, D.C. to be screened for cavities and tooth decay and find out what treatment options are available to you.