When it comes to dental health, brushing your teeth twice a day is essential to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent potential dental concerns, such as cavities. But first, what is a dental cavity? To understand it, learning the basic teeth anatomy would be necessary.
Understanding Dental Cavities
Human teeth are composed of multiple layers, such as enamel, dentin, pulp, and cementum. Enamel is the outermost layer of the teeth, protecting them against bacteria and acids. Underneath the enamel is the dentin, which takes up most of your teeth. Underneath your teeth’s dentin is the pulp, where most nerves and blood vessels are located. And finally, the cementum, the innermost layer of your teeth. It protects the root endings of your teeth and connects them to your jawbone.
And suppose you experience tooth sensitivity; chances are, some parts of the enamel may have been eroded, exposing your teeth’s dentin, which consists of nerve endings. If a layer becomes damaged, a cavity may form, and it starts from the outermost down to the innermost layer. The deeper the damage, the more painful it is.
Should your toothache persist for a couple of weeks, it’s best to consult your dentist right away. More so, you can check and follow this link for more information.
What Are The Types Of Dental Cavities?
There are three types of dental cavities: occlusal, pit and fissure, and root, and each type differs based on the severity of the damage.
1. Occlusal Cavity
The occlusal or smooth-surface cavity is the cavity of the enamel. It’s the most common type of cavity, affecting the exterior surface of the teeth. Usually, it occurs on molars (teeth at the back of your mouth), which can be difficult to clean and hard to reach with simple brushing, leaving bacteria and food debris behind.
Here are the common symptoms of occlusal cavity:
• Chronic bad breath or halitosis
• Swelling of the gums that surround the affected tooth
• Tiny holes in the tooth
• Foul-tasting mouth
In order to prevent occlusal cavities, experts recommend maintaining proper oral hygiene. Make sure to brush and floss your teeth twice a day, morning and evening.
How Do You Treat Occlusal Cavities?
Treating the occlusal cavity is quite simple. Basic home treatments, such as fluoride-rich toothpaste, water, varnish, and gels, may help address the cavity. However, this may take time, especially when treating hard-to-reach areas.
Therefore, it’d be best to receive professional fluoride treatment from a certified dentist. This treatment uses higher levels of fluoride to effectively address the cavity and save your teeth from severe damage.
2. Pit And Fissure Cavity
A pit and fissure cavity is a type of cavity that affects the concaved or grooved portion of your molars. It’s usually common for people who don’t clean their teeth as much as possible, promoting plaque build-up due to food debris and bacteria left behind. This accumulated dirt will start causing tooth decay, which may result in cavities.
Preventing pit and fissure cavities starts with diligently brushing your teeth. And so, be sure to brush your teeth twice a day, especially after consuming foods rich in sugar, such as desserts or chocolates. When brushing, focus on cleaning every surface of every tooth, especially the molars, where pits and fissures are located.
Moreover, your regular trip to the dentist can help prevent the formation of cavities by curbing tooth decay as soon as symptoms show. They can also prescribe applying a coating called dental sealant to your molars. It’s a white plastic material that fills in and covers your teeth’s pit and fissures to prevent food particles and bacteria from entering inside your teeth.
A dental sealant is usually applied to children 12 years old and below. However, an adult may also receive it if their dentist thinks it’s necessary.
How Do You Treat Pit And Fissure Cavities?
If cavities are discovered early, they can still be treated with plaque scaling, sealant application, and fluoride treatment. However, if the cavities have already gone deeper, the following treatments may be required by your dentist:
• Applying Dental Filling
In this procedure, the dentist will first remove the decayed areas of a tooth. Then, the hole will be filled with a dental filling to seal it and restore its normal function.
Furthermore, fillings can be made with porcelain, gold, silver, amalgam, or composite resin. These materials have different prices, so talk with your dentist to determine the right one suited for your needs and budget.
• Dental Crowns
A dental crown is a cap-like covering for the teeth, and its main purpose is to restore the affected teeth’s normal size, shape, and function. Also, it’s often used when the teeth have experienced significant damage due to severe decay, physical trauma, or excessive root canal treatment.
Furthermore, dental crowns can be made using different materials, such as composite resin, porcelain, porcelain fused metal, pressed ceramic, ceramic, etc. Again, talk to your dentist to find out which is best suited for your specific needs.
3. Root Cavities
As the name suggests, root cavities are found in the innermost portion of your teeth, where the roots of the teeth are located underneath the gums. This means that the acids from the food you consume already penetrate and eat away the cementum. In addition, these cavities often occur in those with receding gums, probably due to poor oral hygiene and old age.
Preventing root cavities is pretty similar to other types of cavities. All you need to do is regularly brush your teeth at least twice a day, use floss or interdental cleaners when cleaning, and reduce consumption of sugary substances. By doing so, you’ll be able to slow down and reduce the formation of root cavities.
How To Treat Root Cavities?
Treating root cavities is often similar to treating pit and fissure cavities. If they’ve been detected early, the dentist will remove the decay and cover the teeth with a sealant to protect them from further damage. However, if it causes extreme pain and becomes severe, they’ll have to remove the damaged portion through the process known as a root canal.
In this procedure, the dentist will take out the damaged pulp, clean and sanitize the area, and seal it with a filling. Also, a dental crown may be required, especially if the cavity turns out to be extremely large.
Dental cavities are holes on the surface of the teeth that may extend far deeper across the cementum or the innermost section of the teeth. Fortunately, preventing cavities is relatively easy. You need to regularly perform proper oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day to help prevent plaque build-up.
Furthermore, don’t forget to visit your dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. And by doing so, they’ll be able to assess your overall oral health and help you prevent cavities from forming, allowing you to maintain a healthy and complete set of teeth.