You’ve always heard about other people coming back from the dentist with cavities. Maybe you’ve had a friend or family member come back from the dentist disappointed by their dentist’s examination. Then, before you know it, you end up having the same story to tell your own loved ones.
If it makes you feel better, cavities are quite common. According to the recent data, an overwhelming number of adults have cavities in their permanent teeth. Read on to learn how many and more about this common dental issue from your dentist in Englewood.
What are Cavities and How are They Caused?
Cavities, also referred as their scientific term dental caries, is tooth decay caused by specific types of bacteria. These bacteria produce acid that erodes your tooth’s enamel as well as the layer underneath, known as dentin. As more bacteria fills your mouth, it groups together to form a sticky film called plaque. This film tends to appear:
- In cracks. pits or grooves in the back teeth
- Between teeth
- Around dental fillings or bridgework
- And near the gum line
As you eat foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates, bacteria turn those substances into acid and create pits in your tooth’s crown. A cavity is produced once this acid breaks down the enamel and leaves the dentin exposed. If tooth decay is not removed, the cavity will expand large enough to expose the tooth’s inner layer that houses the soft pulp and sensitive nerve fibers.
How Common are Cavities?
According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 91 percent of U.S. adults aged 20—64 have dental caries in their permanent teeth from 2011 to 2012. When looking at adults 65 and older, that number hits 95 percent. Tooth decay is also considered the most common chronic disease in children according to the American Dental Association.
As a result, dentists are including more preventive methods that allow early detection where it can be reversed, rather than having to fix the issue after it’s already done the damage. These methods range from cleanings designed to remove plaque to advanced technology that catches and stops tooth decay in its tracks.
How Do I Prevent and Treat Cavities in the Future?
In its early stages, tooth decay can be stopped and even reversed with fluorides that help remineralize affected enamel. Dentists may also provide a fluoride cavity-protection varnish that acts as a shield for your teeth. However, if the decay has already formed into plaque, a dentist must remove it during a dental cleaning before it erodes into your enamel. Therefore, regular brushing, flossing, and diet management are imperative to reducing your chances of getting cavities.
If a cavity has already formed, your dentist will remove the decayed material and then fill the space in your tooth with an amalgam or composite resin filling. If the cavity is too large, they may need to cover the tooth with an inlay, onlay, or crown. If bacteria infect the soft pulp underneath your tooth, a root canal treatment will be needed.
Learn more about cavity prevention by scheduling an appointment with your Englewood dentist today!
About the Author
Dr. C. Romesh Weerasooriya, a native of Englewood, earned his Bachelor of Arts as well as his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Florida. He’s completed over 1,000 hours of continuing education since graduating and has studied under several top dental educators around the country. To learn more about him and his practice, contact him at (941) 474-9548 or visit his website.