The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2008 showed that one in five people had an untreated tooth cavity and 75% had existing dental restorations. Though cavities are one of the easiest dental concerns to prevent, millions of children and adults still face problems with tooth decay.
Dr. Richard Van Gurp is a family dentist in Charlotte, NC. We offer complete care for children as well as adults. Our main concern is preventing tooth decay. We also offer a wide range of services to manage and treat tooth decay including fillings, crowns and root canals.
What Causes Tooth Cavities
Plaque is a sticky substance that is constantly forming in the mouth, accumulating mostly at the gum line and in between the teeth. Bacteria in plaque are activated by sugar and starch in the food we eat. The bacteria produce acid which eventually can lead to the erosion of tooth enamel and formation of tooth cavities.
Daily brushing and flossing is essential to preventing cavities as this simple habit will greatly reduce plaque and bacteria in the mouth. Another important step to take is limiting snacks between meals, eliminating sodas and candy from the diet, and drink plenty of water.
Tooth Cavity Symptoms
The dentist is able to identify early signs of tooth decay before most patients experience any physical symptoms, so it is important to maintain regular dental check-ups. Common signs of tooth decay include:
- White spots on teeth
- Dark or dull teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Visible holes in teeth
Tooth Cavity Treatment
Dr. Van Gurp can prevent tooth cavities with professional cleaning, fluoride treatments and sealants, which are plastic coverings that protect teeth. If you already have signs of tooth decay, the dentist may recommend the following treatment:
- Composite Dental Fillings: Composite dental fillings are placed in a single visit, used to treat minor tooth cavities.
- Porcelain or Gold Fillings: If the tooth decay is more extensive, Dr. Van Gurp may use an indirect restoration such as a composite or ceramic filling to protect the tooth.
- Root Canal: When tooth decay progresses close to the nerve of the tooth, it can cause extreme pain. A root canal procedure will eliminate infection from inside the tooth. Dr. Van Gurp can then restore the tooth using a dental crown to prevent future problems.