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Dental Cavities & Tooth Decay


Cavities and tooth decay can be highly problematic for many people. The choices you make in the food and drinks you consume, to your brushing and flossing habits, can make a huge difference in the health and status of your mouth. Learning how to care for your teeth can make a difference in your oral health and your overall health. At Crafton Dental, we can provide you with the education and tools you need for greater success.

Why do I get dental cavities?

Cavities, known as caries in dentistry, are the result of bacteria feeding on sugar. Your mouth is exposed to many bacteria each day, and they look for sugar to feed on. A natural place for sugar to collect is in the plaque that naturally forms on your teeth. Plaque is a blend of saliva and food debris, and bacteria often finds it to be a delicious sugary feast. As the bacteria feed on the plaque that accumulates on the surface and along the gum line of our teeth, it emits an acid that breaks down the enamel and decays the tooth. Damage and holes appear in the enamel where it has broken down, and this is known as cavities.

How do I prevent cavities?

Brushing twice a day can reduce the level of plaque and help protect your teeth from damage. Allowing the plaque to stay in place allows the plaque to dry and become hard. The hardened plaque is known as tartar, and tartar is difficult to remove. Additionally, tartar should only be removed by a dental hygienist, and when patients attempt to remove it on their own, they often damage the enamel.

Ignoring cavities only allows the cavity to become larger and can even lead to a bacterial infection of the pulp. Ignoring a cavity often means pain for you, more time in the chair, and more expensive procedures. Catching cavities when they are small is best, ideally when you visit Crafton Dental for your regular dental checkup.

How do I fix a decayed tooth?

Once you have experienced tooth decay or a cavity, it can only be fixed by visiting Crafton Dental and having us fix it.

Fixing a small cavity

A small cavity can be resolved quickly and easily. First, we remove the bacteria and decayed material. Then, we fill the space with a tooth filler, either amalgam or composite. The process is fast and simple.

Fixing a large cavity

A larger cavity may require a dental inlay, onlay, or even a full crown. We will assess the damage and review your options with you. Large cavities mean that more tooth material needs to be removed to remove all of the decayed portions. It may also mean that you require a larger procedure such as root canal therapy. Finally, we will need to decide if the tooth would benefit from the added strength of an inlay, onlay, or full crown.

When does a decayed tooth need a root canal?

Root canal therapy is needed when the bacteria has extended past the dentin layer and has infected the inner portion, or pulp, of the tooth. This step requires us to gain access into the tooth and then remove the source of the infection. We cleanse the area, place an antibacterial rubber material, and strengthen the tooth with a dental crown.

Still have questions about cavities or tooth decay?

Infected pulp will never heal on its own, and it should not be ignored. If you think you have a dental cavity, tooth decay, or tooth pain, call us today at (410) 381-5030. We can diagnose and treat the issue at our Columbia dental office and fix the issue.
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Crafton Dental -
10380 Old Columbia Rd, Suite 102, Columbia, MD 21046
- (410) 381-5030
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