Modern Dentistry is Your Best Defense in the Fight Against Cavities

Modern Dentistry is Your Best Defense in the Fight Against Cavities

If your dentist discovered a cavity, would you want to wait for it to get worse before it’s treated?

Or would you want to treat it then and there?

For years, the only materials available to fill cavities were silver amalgams or gold, and the cavity had to be a certain depth and thickness to be long-lasting. Filling a cavity also meant that a lot of the healthy parts of the tooth had to be removed to make a sturdy filling. Rather than removing healthy pieces of tooth, the dentist would make note of dark, stained grooves, and fix the problem when those small areas became big.

Thanks to modern dentistry, dentists can rely on composite resins and porcelain to treat your teeth in a very discreet way. They no longer have to remove healthy parts of your tooth just to fix the cavity. Now they can remove the infected and diseased parts and replace it with durable materials.

How do cavities start?

You’ve probably been taught that the “bugs” in your mouth use the sugar that you eat to chew holes in your teeth.

That is kind of true, but not entirely. The bacteria that causes cavities is called Streptococcus Mutans and it uses the food left behind on your teeth to create acid. The acid then weakens the tooth and allows the bacteria to dig in deep.

Once the enamel is infected, the infection will spread to the dentin (the inner, softer layer of the tooth) and then to the rest of the tooth, quickly damaging the healthy parts. If not caught quickly, it can spread to neighbouring teeth or anywhere else in your mouth.

If the cavities are small, do I have to get them fixed?

The decision to get treatment is up to you.

But remember why you go to the dentist in the first place: you want a healthy mouth. If your dentist gives you recommendations on how to accomplish that, it would be in your best interest to listen to them.

Treating cavities early can mean less discomfort and less money that you have to spend.

Can cavities be reversed?

That depends.

Every patient wants to be able to fight off cavities without another dental visit. If the infection in the tooth is on the cheek or tongue side of your tooth rather than between two teeth, you can use a prescription toothpaste or a prescription high-fluoride gel to strengthen the enamel and keep the infection from spreading.

This only works if you change your diet and oral cleaning habits.

There is no scientific research that supports the use of prescription toothpaste or fluoride gels to reverse cavities on the biting surfaces of your teeth. However, there has been some promising research on the use of specially formulated xylitol (a plant-based sweetener) products. While it doesn’t hurt to use products with xylitol, it shouldn’t be used as a way to avoid dental work.

Why didn’t my last dentist find these cavities?

Your dentist doesn’t want to find anything wrong with your teeth, especially if you don’t have any pain. However, their job is to tell you about everything they see and recommend the best ways to fix any problems.

If your last dentist didn’t see any problems, they may not have been looking properly. The “dental pick” that many dentists use misses early cavities more than 75% of the time. If you get an x-ray, the cavities on the biting surfaces of your teeth are only visible once they’ve destroyed more than one third of the surface.

Can you afford to wait that long?

Many dentists rely on a variety of tools in addition to the dental pick, including magnifying lenses, extra-bright lights, photography, and even lasers to help them find the cavities when they’ve destroyed even the smallest amount of tooth.

If you want a dentist who will work with you to treat problem areas from the beginning, contact Dr. Andrea Stevens today.