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How Cavities Affect Your Teeth


Although it may not seem like it, your teeth are vulnerable to the bacteria in your mouth pretty much around the clock. Your mouth is full of chemical reactions taking place during and after you eat, whenever you drink something, and while you sleep. These reactions are strong enough to erode the strongest substance in your body: your tooth enamel. Without proper dental care, tooth erosion can lead to issues such as cavities, which can be addressed with our dental team before they become bigger, more expensive or invasive issues.

What Are Cavities?

Cavities are just that: cavities that form in your teeth. They are the beginnings of tooth decay, defined as holes in the enamel, the hard external shell of your teeth. Cavities can be visible or hidden (but still visible on X-ray), and quickly progress to more painful and serious conditions when they penetrate to the dentin. Dentin is the softer layer of tissue below the enamel that is more vulnerable to decay. Within the dentin is the highly sensitive region called the pulp layer, home to many nerves and blood vessels that can also be affected by bacterial reactions.

How Do Cavities Form?

Cavities form when the bacteria always present in your mouth break down common chemical compounds such as sugars and starches for energy and as a result, create acids. These acids are corrosive, like all acids, and break down the molecules of your teeth and gums. Enamel is the most well-protected layer of teeth. Once the enamel is perforated, the lower layers are even more subject to decay from these acids and bacteria, which is why regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene are so important to overall teeth and gums health.

Treating Cavities and Tooth Decay

Cavities are typically easy to spot before they become complicated dental procedures via oral examination or X-ray imaging. The treatment protocol for cavities is to drill out the decayed portion of the tooth to physically remove active sites of decay and to provide a uniform area to apply a filling.

Cavities are filled with a composite resin material that reinforces tooth structure for a long time. However, fillings for cavities aren’t permanent, and the risk of tooth decay can come back as long as dental hygiene or checkup habits aren’t improved. This is why regular checkups are important because you typically don’t notice a cavity forming in your on your own. Our dentists at South Meadows Dental can spot cavities quickly and restore your tooth health without needing expensive and extensive procedures such as a root canal. Ultimately, the best cure is preventing tooth decay in the first place, with expert advice from our specialists and hygienists.

Regular Dental Checkups in Reno, NV

At South Meadows Dental, our priority is your health and wellbeing beyond your regular dental checkup. Your twice-yearly appointments are more than just about keeping your teeth free of cavities, but also about making your smile as healthy and brilliant as possible. Call our office or contact us online to schedule your checkup today.

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