Unfortunately, we’re all at risk for cavities as long as we have our natural teeth. The good news is that cavities can be prevented, and if needed, treated to remove the cavity and restore the tooth.
The best ways to lessen your chances of developing a cavity are to maintain healthy eating and drinking habits, develop a great routine to take care of your teeth daily by brushing and flossing, and schedule regular appointments to have your teeth cleaned and checked. Prevention is a team effort, and we want to make sure we’re doing everything possible to keep your mouth healthy!
What is a Cavity (Decay)?
Tooth decay is a disease that causes damage to your teeth by breaking down your tooth structure. The outermost layer of the tooth is called the enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance in the body, and is made up of minerals, organic material, and water. Beneath the enamel is a layer of tooth structure called dentin, which is composed of similar materials; however, it contains fewer minerals, and is therefore slightly softer. The innermost part of your tooth is called the pulp, made up of connective tissue and cells, blood vessels, and nerves. The more of these layers that are affected by decay, the greater the damage to the tooth.
What Causes Decay?
Your teeth are covered by a sticky film of bacteria, called plaque. If the bacteria are not removed by brushing and flossing after a meal, they turn the sugar from your food into acid, which can then break down your tooth structure. As the tooth structure breaks down, a hole forms, called a cavity.
If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to pain, spread of infection, and even tooth loss. In addition to being unhealthy, it can also be unsightly, leading to a loss of self-confidence as well. It’s much easier and more affordable to prevent tooth decay than it is to repair or replace a damaged tooth!
If we do need to repair a damaged tooth, not to worry! At Schultz Family Dental, we use the most advanced restorative materials available, so we can get you looking and feeling your best!
In the past, cavities were commonly filled with a metal material called amalgam (a mix of silver and mercury). Unfortunately, these fillings can cause damage to the teeth over time because they are often large, and can expand—causing cracks or fractures to form.
At Schultz Family Dental, we offer a metal-free, natural-looking alterative: tooth-colored fillings called composite resins. With this newer material, we are able to save a greater amount of healthy tooth structure, so that your teeth stay strong and vibrant.