Cavities are small openings or holes in your teeth; they also may be referred to as tooth decay or caries. They oftentimes build up after plaque and bacteria enter the mouth and “lay” on the teeth, but they also can happen if you don’t brush your teeth, eat too many sweet things and don’t brush and floss between the teeth and in some dentists opinion, they are also caused by a lack of minerals in your diet. In some situations, a cavity can be stopped or slowed down, but in other situations dire measures must be taken. If you have a cavity and you are wondering about the options available to you, please continue to read below.
Finding a Dentist
It’s pretty easy to know when you have a mild to bad cavity. You may feel a “shocking” feeling when eating sweets, drinking/eating something cold, drinking/eating something warm, pain when you bite down, dark colors on your teeth, pits, holes, gaps that weren’t there before, etc. Some cavities, however, can be invisible to the naked eye. These are usually cavities that are still beneath the surface and they will only be able to be seen by the use of a professional, with an x-ray or perhaps with florescent lighting instruments. This is also the reason you should have a Family Dentist because you can catch the culprit before it gets worse! If you do not have a dentist, ask around; talk to your friends, family, co-workers, play date moms and dads, etc. Ask them who they use, how long they have been practicing dentistry, are they good dentists, bad, do they handle things like adult and children dental services, etc.
Fluoride Treatments – Option 1
If you go to a dentist and they see you have a cavity that is just starting they may suggest some of the following options. Fluoride treatments wont necessary fix the tooth 100% but it will help in restoring them back to the way they were before the cavity. The dentist will most likely apply the fluoride in one of two ways; 1- directly on to your teeth. 2- Place the fluoride into a tray that fits over your teeth. The method only takes about 3-5 minutes to complete.
Get a Filling – Option 2
Fillings or restoration treatments are usually used when a tooth has a visible cavity – when the hole or the decay has started to open up and you can visually see the cavity. But, sometimes if you have a really good doctor they will stop it before you can even see it by the naked eye. Fillings will involve getting an anesthetic into your jaws and gums, depending on where the tooth at question is. Then the dentist will use a drill and remove the cavity. Then, he will fill the holes up using a synthetic material – the filling. Usually these are made of silver or porcelain and the porcelain option is usually the safest and most expensive route.
Root Canal – Option #3
If your dentist tells you that you need a root canal, chances are it’s a pretty dire situation. This happens when the cavity has penetrated down to the pulp of the tooth. Chances are if this happens, the root of the tooth is dead, infected or decayed. While the Dentist is doing the root canal they will create a small incision where the tooth is, then they will remove all of that dead pulp from the canals and chambers inside the tooth. In most situations when the “surgery” is finished your doctor will place a rubbery like material and sealing paste into the hole where the decay was. If it’s really bad and the hole is really big or the tooth had to be really drilled down, the Family Dentist may also place a crown on it.
Extraction – Dire Situations – Option #4
Earlier we spoke about dire situations and dire methods. This is one of those methods. If the tooth is too decayed or the doctor doesn’t think he can save any of the tooth or very little of it, they may tell you that you need it extracted. Depending on where the tooth is and your specific situation the doctor will either drill pieces out then pull any fragments out or they may use a forceps type instrument to just pull the tooth right out of the gums. This will obviously leave a gap between your teeth. You might talk to your dentist about getting a dental implant to fill this area. Especially if it’s near the front of your mouth.