Nearly everyone develops at least one cavity at some point in their life, and although daily brushing significantly reduces your risk of cavities, your molars may have deep crevices that are hard to reach. Dr. Kevin D. Jennings, LLC. in Chesapeake, Virginia, encourages you to get a checkup every six months so those hard to reach places can be cleaned, and also to catch cavities at an early stage before they penetrate deep enough to cause a toothache or infection. To schedule an appointment, call the office or book an appointment online today.
The bacteria that naturally live in your mouth thrive on sugars you consume. As these bacteria mix with mucus, they form a filmy substance called plaque that sticks to your teeth.
Plaque gradually hardens, making it difficult to remove with brushing. Meanwhile, bacteria in the plaque produce acids that erode tooth enamel, eventually creating an opening that becomes a cavity. When the cavity goes untreated, bacteria continue to work their way through the enamel, penetrating deeper into your tooth.
As soon as bacteria get close to the pulp in the center of your tooth, they can cause an infection. Even without an infection, you’ll feel the pain because nerves reside in the pulp.
When you visit Dr. Kevin D. Jennings, LLC. for a dental exam, the dental hygienist takes X-rays that show the details of your cavity, including its size and depth.
Before repairing your cavity, Dr. Jennings ensures your comfort with a local anesthetic if needed, then removes all the tooth decay and replaces it with a filling.
Fillings are made from a variety of materials, but the two most common are composite resin fillings that match the color of your teeth and traditional amalgam fillings.
There are pros and cons to both types of fillings beyond their color:
Amalgam fillings are stronger, which makes them better for molars as these teeth have more pressure placed on them. This type of filling is also used to repair large cavities. However, Dr. Jennings must remove more of the tooth to anchor an amalgam filling.
Composite resin works well for small to moderate cavities, especially if it’s one of your front teeth where you don’t want a silver filling.
Resins bond tightly with the tooth, so less tooth is removed, and the tooth’s structure is stronger after the filling is in place. However, resins don’t last as long as amalgam fillings and may require two office visits.
You can help prevent cavities in the following three ways:
Routine brushing is essential to remove food, bacteria, and plaque before it has time to harden and stick to your teeth.
Your dental hygienist removes plaque on your teeth and finds the earliest signs of cavities during these routine checkups.
When you frequently eat sugary snacks or constantly sip sweetened sodas, you give bacteria the quick-acting fuel they need to produce plaque and acid. Sodas are also highly acidic, so they erode dental enamel without the help of bacteria.
If you have a toothache that you think might be a cavity, call Dr. Kevin D. Jennings, LLC. or book an appointment online today.