Many of us have had at least one cavity in our lives, and if we don’t keep up on our oral hygiene, it’s likely that we’ll get a couple more as time goes by.
While cavities may be inconvenient, it’s imperative that we get them treated immediately. Early treatment of cavities prevents long-term damage to our teeth and is essential to maintaining a beautiful, healthy smile!
Cavities are a sign of tooth decay. A cavity is a small hole that develops on your tooth when it begins to decay. Harmful bacteria is contained in the plaque that sticks to our teeth. This bacteria produces acid that eats away at our teeth and causes cavities if the plaque is not removed. If left untreated, the cavity can grow larger and cause permanent damage to the tooth.
Letting cavities fester is more common than you think. Approximately 28 percent of adults are living with untreated cavities. Because cavities are so commonplace, some may think they can leave them untreated, either to save money or spare themselves a filling. It is important to remember, however, that a cavity is considered an infection that requires prompt treatment.
Cavities can only get worse with time. Once that harmful bacteria creates a cavity, it will continue to grow if not repaired with a filling. To further understand the damage a cavity can do to your tooth, let’s go over some tooth anatomy.
A tooth consists of three parts:
- The hard and protective outer layer called the enamel
- The middle layer called dentin
- The inner layer called the pulp, which contains the tooth’s blood vessels and nerves
The enamel is the tooth’s first line of defense against cavity-causing bacteria. If treatment is postponed, the bacteria will eventually get through the enamel and enter into the layer of dentin, and eventually, the pulp.
If cavity-causing bacteria are allowed to reach the dental pulp, it can lead to a condition known as pulpitis, or inflammation of the pulp. If treated quickly, pulpitis can be removed with a simple filling. If left to progress, more serious measures may need to be taken such as a root canal or tooth extraction.
In the end, the ideal option is to prevent cavities before they even occur! At our practice, your health and comfort are our priority. We are your partners in helping you maintain a cavity-free, beautiful smile!
Thank you for continuing to be part of our practice family!
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At Beautiful Smiles Family Dental Center in Etters, Pennsylvania, Dr. Graver and Dr. Koop offer many techniques to treat and prevent cavities. We are always concerned about your comfort. Please call us if you have any questions about how our services may benefit you or someone you know.