As a family dentist in Ocala, FL, dental caries, more commonly known as cavities, are one of the top dental problems we treat in our office. Cavities are a common occurrence in both children and adults. In fact, 92 percent of adults have had a cavity in a permanent tooth and 42 percent of children have had a cavity in primary teeth. Cavities occur when the enamel becomes weakened, leading to tooth decay. While cavities are common, they are easily preventable if you understand how they develop and what steps can be taken to protect the teeth. As your dentist in Ocala, FL, we offer cavity prevention and treatment to protect your teeth from damage.
How Do Cavities Develop?
Our teeth are composed of a hard outer layer, known as enamel, and an inner layer known as dentin. A cavity forms when the enamel becomes damaged, exposing the dentin. Our mouths naturally contain bacteria, which we keep to a minimum with proper oral hygiene. However, even with the best oral hygiene, cavities can still form.
Bacteria in our mouths are exposed to sugars, starches and acids from the foods and drinks we consume. When the bacteria and food debris are combined with our saliva, it forms plaque on the teeth. Plaque contains acid, which slowly causes the enamel to breakdown. Over time, a hole will develop in the enamel, which is known as a cavity.
How Can I Prevent Cavities?
The best way to prevent cavities is with oral hygiene. You need to brush your teeth properly twice a day while also flossing once a day. In addition, eating a well-balanced diet that limits your consumption of sugary, starchy, and acidic foods will help to protect the teeth while also strengthening tooth enamel. You also need to visit the dentist every 6 months for regular checkups and cleanings.
With regular visits to the dentist, we remove plaque accumulations, while also providing preventive treatments to stop the formation of cavities. We offer dental sealants and fluoride treatments to stop cavities before they even start. In addition, we perform an examination to detect cavities while they are still small to provide treatment.
How are Cavities Treated?
When a cavity is detected during the early stages of development, we use a dental filling to restore the tooth’s health. We remove the area of decay and seal the tooth with a composite resin material to protect the tooth from additional damage. If a cavity has been left untreated for a prolonged period of time, the damage may be extensive. For large cavities, a filling may not be enough. We may have to use a dental crown after removing the decay to restore the tooth’s integrity and health. In some cases, additional procedures, like a root canal, may be needed to treat the tooth.
Your Dentist for Cavity Prevention
With the right diet and proper oral care, cavities are easy to prevent. However, if you begin experiencing symptoms of a cavity, you need to schedule an appointment with our office for treatment.