Acid from the plaque dissolves enamel causing a cavity which can spread to the dentin. If left untreated, the cavity enlarges until it reaches the pulp, which becomes infected. An abcess develops and the tooth will require root canal treatment in order to be saved.
- Tooth decay can develop on any surface of any tooth
- Cavities grow; they are much easier and less expensive to treat when they are small
- Cavities may or may not cause discomfort; even though it doesn’t hurt, the tooth is deteriorating
- Tooth decay is checked for every 6-12 months be your dentist, usually with help of dental x-rays
- Tooth decay is treated by your dentist by cleaning out the cavity and placing a restoration (filling) in the tooth.
What is caries?
Caries (cavities in the teeth) are caused by bacteria. The mouth is full of bacteria, and while the vast majority are benign, some are bad. When we consume sugar, some of the bacterias converts this sugar acid, which then etches our teeth, and ultimately causes caries. You can basically not feel a small cavity, and even larger cavity can’t niether be felt. The tooth may become slightly sensitive at larger cavities, as the tooth is now more exposed. It is important to repair the cavity so you can keep as much of your tooth as possible before it is too late. If you do not do anything about a growing cavity, you will eventually get toothache that can cause an infection in the tooth, and it may end up being rooted or even pulled out.
Often you can avoid drilling in small cavities. The calcium in your saliva can sometimes seal the cavity, or the dentist can apply some Durathat on it to cover it. If a small cavity has to stop growing, you need to have a good oral hygiene and also limit your intake of sweet stuff.
Larger cavities must be repaired. Before you can fill the cavity, the dead tissue has to be removed. If you want anesthesia, we will fulfill this desire. For some cavities, it is given as a standard due to the cavity size/depth. Some of the tooth is lost due to the drilling, so the larger the hole, the more tooth you end up losing.
Fillings – plastic and silver
Back in time, silver amalgam was used to fill cavities. Silver amalgam contain mercury, which is toxic and harmful to the environment. However, when it is bound in a filling, there is no risk of danger to the patient, so do not fear. Today we use plastic. Plastic is better as you remove less of the tooth and it also gives a better cosmetic result.
Preventive dental care
It is important to get your cavities done, but more importantly, make sure you don’t get them in the first place. It is therefore important to take good care of your teeth. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and use dental floss between the teeth.
Sugar, acidic food and drinks should also be limited, as sugar, as mentioned earlier, is the fuel for the bacteria that causes the cavities.
There is no evidence of a caries-preventing effect of women taking fluoride supplements during pregnancy.
NEWS December 22, 2018:
The risk of caries increases when water hardness is lowered. The capital of the capital (HOFOR) will, until 2024, set up softening plants on all waterworks in the metropolitan area in order to lower the hardness of the water. It is based on environmental and energy considerations, as softer water gives less lime. And it now causes the Dental Association to warn the population of Greater Copenhagen about the risk of more caries. It’s nice that the water gets softer, so we don’t get as much lime in the washing machine and the kettle. But the citizens of Greater Copenhagen must now be extra careful about oral hygiene and make sure to use fluoride-based toothpaste, says Susanne Kleist, chair of the Dental Association. In the latest issue of the Tandlægebladet, Kim Ekstrand, associate professor at the Dental School in Copenhagen, and Professor Emeritus Erik Arvin from DTU write that caries preventive measures should be initiated in connection with softening the drinking water. The first recommendation is that the authorities in the municipality make their citizens aware of the change and openly state that softening of the drinking water can lead to increased incidence of caries. Furthermore, the authorities should be honest that the measures entail increased costs for the municipality in the form of additional resources for municipal dental care, including care for the individual, and for the individual citizen, writes Kim Ekstrand and Erik Arvin in the Tandlæge magazine. / Last updated 22 December 2018 The Dental Association.