Cavities are incredibly common, but that doesn’t make them anymore desirable. Approximately 92% of adults (20 to 64 years old) have tooth decay or cavities in at least one of their permanent teeth. You can treat and prevent cavities, but can you make cavities go away on their own? Let’s explore how to handle a cavity and protect your smile.
Some Cavities Can Be Reversed (If They’re Caught Early on)
To have any hope of making a cavity go away, you need to catch it early on. This means seeing the dentist a couple times a year for teeth cleanings and oral exams. At the very early stages of demineralization, your dentist can fortify your enamel and reverse the effects of tooth decay. Once it reaches a certain point though, the damage cannot be reversed. The only solution is to fill the cavity to shield the tooth.
Most Cavities Can Be Treated and Contained
Some cavities require more aggressive treatment options than others, but most cavities can be treated in some way. Once again, this is especially true if you catch the tooth decay early on. The goal with cavity treatment is to stop the progress of the tooth decay and preserve the remaining tooth. Common ways to treat cavities include:
- Dental fillings to fill in the decayed area and prevent more decay from forming
- Dental crowns to cover the exposed area of the tooth
- Root canals to replace the pulp within the tooth
- Inlays and onlays to cover cavities that are too large for standard fillings
- Tooth extractions when the tooth is not salvageable or other treatments are not financially feasible
Your dentist can suggest the best course of treatment based on the severity and location of your cavity.
Common Reasons Cavities Form
Here are a few reasons why cavities form:
- Demineralization, where the tooth becomes exposed to decaying bacteria but no hole has formed yet
- Enamel decay, where the tooth enamel starts to wear and form a hole on the surface
- Dentin decay, which affects the layer below the enamel and potentially exposes the pulp within
- Pulp deterioration, which impacts the nerves inside the tooth and often requires a root canal to reverse
- Abscess, where infection spreads below the pulp and creates a pocket of pus inside (usually quite painful)
If you can catch the tooth decay within those first couple stages, you can avoid the pain and extensive repair work associated with the other stages.
How to Prevent Cavities and Reduce Tooth Decay
Tooth decay prevention is the best way to make a cavity go away. This includes routine brushing and flossing, as well as yearly or twice-yearly dentist appointments. Tooth-decaying bacteria feeds on sugars in your mouth, so avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as possible. If you are going to consume these items, brush your teeth approximately 20 minutes afterward.
You can get tons of personalized oral hygiene tips from your dentist! If you’d like a judgement-free consultation with Dr. Sadikoff at Clinton Dental Center, please give us a call at (586) 949-5363.