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Cavities also called Dental Caries or tooth decay are soft areas on the surface of the teeth made by the acid provided the bacteria in the plaque. They can potentially cause lots of dental problems unless treated early. Overtime, a cavity may create a little hole (pit) on the tooth and cause sensitivity and pain. Most cavities increase in size over a period of time and may even lead to the complete tooth loss. Cavity must be fixed in a timely manner, before it is too late. Once the damage is done, fixing and restoring through artificial means can be very intrusive and expensive. Root canals, crowns and implants are some of the treatments that are commonly done to restore the lost tooth structure due to caries.
Cavities are influenced by several factors such as: not brushing your teeth properly; consuming foods or liquids that are high in sugar; and smoking. Cavities are a common issue with people in any age group but they are more common among children and young adults as they consume foods high in sugar and have not developed proper oral hygiene habits.
Cavities are commonly found on areas of the teeth that are hard to keep clean such as: in between the teeth and teeth that are located at the back of the mouth. Plaque and bacteria can build on these areas. The bacteria produce acid that damages the hard tooth enamel and seeps inside to the dentin, causing damage to the dentin. Brushing and flossing in the morning and at night before going to the bed helps prevent plaque and cavities from developing.
Treatment of cavity is fairly simple and painless. The dentist checks the affected area to ascertain the extent of damage. They may take some x-rays to help confirm the damage. Once confirmed, dentist then removes and excavates the decay by drilling and using some hand instruments most of the times under local anaesthesia. Once that is done, the dentist disinfects and fills the resulting space with enamel like resin material or ceramic. Now that the bacteria is removed, further damage gets contained. It takes more or less an hour to complete this process.
The information provided is for general information purposes only and not intended to replace professional care. Please consult your physician or dentist for advice and diagnosis so you can be properly treated for your specific situation.