A “cavity” is a more common term for tooth decay, which is caused by bacteria called plaque. When you eat and drink, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that can cause the enamel (the outer layer of a tooth) or the root surface to breakdown. Typically, plaque can build up around the gumline or on the molars in the back of the mouth, putting these areas at a higher risk of tooth decay.
If you have a cavity and are wondering what you should do before the holidays come around, there are a few things you should consider. Decay does not happen overnight, but it does not get better as time goes on either. You may think that a cavity does not need immediate attention, but if you refrain from fixing it for too long, one day it could be too late.
Depending on the severity of the cavity, different treatments are possible:
- Fillings – when decay has passed the earliest stage of decay
- Crowns – For extensive decay or weakened teeth
- Root Canals – May be required when decay reaches the pulp of the tooth
- Extractions – When decay is so severe that the tooth cannot be restored and must be removed
If you are starting to experience pain associated from a cavity, this is typically not a good sign and you should contact your dentist immediately! Tooth decay that has advanced can be very painful and if left untreated can result in the loss of your tooth. In fact, without proper treatment, bacteria can travel through the tooth and cause an abscess indicating a severe infection. An abscess is not something that should be taken lightly, if not treated properly, the infection is capable of spreading to other areas of the body causing serious complications.
At Costa Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we recommend that you restore any teeth that require immediate attention before the holidays begin. If you cannot remember if you had a cavity that needed attention, contact us! The last thing we want is for you to experience any pain associated with a cavity during the holidays when you may be out of town or busy with family.
In the event that you feel you need immediate dental assistance, please know that we do offer emergency appointments as well!