Dr. Josh is a talented dentist that treats tooth decay in Leland, NC. Also commonly referred to as a cavity or dental caries, tooth decay is a common dental concern that can affect anyone despite their age. A cavity forms when the hard outer layer of the tooth, the enamel, is damaged by acid-producing bacteria. It is important to treat tooth decay as soon as possible. The enamel will continue to decay until it is stopped with proper dental treatment.
What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay occurs when plaque is not regularly removed from the tooth’s surface. If plaque is left to build up on a tooth, the acid in the bacteria will begin to “eat away” at the enamel. Symptoms of tooth decay will vary depending on the severity of the damage. You may not even know you have a cavity in the early stages. A few symptoms of tooth decay may include:
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Visible holes or dark spots on the tooth surface
- Bad breath
What Causes Tooth Decay?
The number one cause of tooth decay is poor oral hygiene habits. Not properly brushing and flossing your teeth allows plaque to build up on your teeth. Plaque contains harmful bacteria which produce acids.
Many additional contributing factors will also lead to cavities. Consuming excess sugar, carbs, and acidic drinks will promote bacterial growth and acid production. This is why children are at a higher risk of tooth decay. They have poor oral hygiene habits and consume an excessive amount of sugar in their diets.
Genetics can also play a role. Some people are simply more prone to getting cavities if it runs in their family. Also, dry mouth is a condition that reduces saliva flow which helps neutralize acids and remineralize teeth. Dry mouth can be a side effect of certain medications.
Treatment Options for Tooth Decay in Annapolis, MD
The treatment for tooth decay depends on the severity of the condition. Common treatment options include:
- Dental Filling: We suggest a dental filling for small to moderate cavities. Dr. Josh will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and fill the cavity with dental materials such as composite resin or amalgam.
- Dental Crowns: When the decay has severely damaged the tooth, Dr. Josh will need to place a dental crown on the tooth. This will restore the tooth’s shape, strength, and function.
- Root Canal Therapy: If tooth decay reaches the inner pulp leading to infection and severe pain, the patient will need root canal therapy. This is when the infected tissue is removed to save the tooth.
- Tooth Extraction: In cases of advanced tooth decay where the tooth is beyond repair, Dr. Josh will suggest a tooth extraction. He will also recommend the best option to replace the tooth including dental implants, bridges, or dentures to restore functionality and aesthetics.
Dr. Josh will screen for tooth decay at every regular dental checkup. However, if you think you have a cavity, please feel free to book a dentist appointment. You can request an appointment at Waterford Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today. We offer several treatments for tooth decay in Leland, NC to help restore your oral health.