What are cavities and how do they develop?

Cavities are a significant source of disease in the population. They develop when harmful bacteria in your mouth digest carbohydrates and sugars to produce acid. This acid causes demineralization of your enamel and results in decay. Cavities begin in the enamel (outer tooth layer) and progress to the underlying dentin. Early stages of cavities do not cause pain. However as they progress deeper into the tooth you will begin to feel sensitivity. When a cavity reaches the nerve of the tooth, that is when you will start to experience pain as the infection process has begun.

Cavities are progressive in nature, so it is imperative to get them addressed as soon as possible. In certain cases, cavities that are solely into enamel may be remineralized, however the sooner we catch a cavity, the better.

The smaller the cavity, the more conservative the treatment. When the cavity is minimal, we can generally restore the tooth with a tooth colored filling. However, as cavities progress and become larger, further treatment such as a crown or a root canal may be needed.

When would I need a crown? Or a root canal?

A tooth that is heavily decayed and compromised will no longer be a candidate for a simple filling. Once 50% or more of the chewing surface of the tooth becomes compromised, a crown is indicated to protect and stabilize the tooth. Root canals, on the other hand are indicated when the cavity has progressed into the nerve space and has began to cause and infection.

How can I reduce my risk of cavities?

There are a variety of risk factors that make you more susceptible to cavities. Some of which include

    • Heavy sugar consumption
    • Inadequate oral hygiene
    • Dry mouth
    • Genetics
    • Frequent consumption of soft drinks
    • Frequent snacking

We take a look at every aspect of your mouth and systemic health in order to reduce your overall risk of cavities.