How Are Cavities Formed and Repaired?
In order to maintain optimal oral health, it is important to know how cavities are formed and repaired. It is much easier to prevent decay and to take oral health seriously when you understand the mechanisms of tooth decay and repairs. Let’s take a look at the subject in greater detail below.
How Do Cavities Form?
Because the American diet is rich in bleached sugars, flours, and acidic foods, it is easy for anyone to get a cavity. A cavity occurs when acids build up in your mouth and soften the enamel. You can even damage the enamel by brushing within a half an hour of eating acidic foods or drinks. Most of the time, the acid is produced by bacteria in your mouth. That is why brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using mouthwash to reduce the bacterial growth is so critical.
Your mouth produces something called a biofilm. This biofilm is a soup of polysaccharides and the bacteria that feed on these sugars. The biofilm will turn into a hardened plaque called tartar if it is left to stew in your mouth. This tartar leaches minerals from your saliva to build the framework for bacteria colonies in your mouth. These colonies begin to release more acid and start to dissolve and weaken tooth enamel on a perpetual basis. The gums get inflamed, infected, itchy, and begin to separate from the tooth surface.
It can take as little as six months or several years for a cavity to appear in an area of the tooth that is being eroded by acids. If a dentist sees a cavity forming that is not deep enough to require a filling, they may recommend the use of fluoride to strengthen the enamel. Sipping fluorinated water throughout the day to bathe your teeth in fluoride is a good method of strengthening teeth.
How Are Cavities Repaired?
Our Scottsdale dentist repairs cavities by grinding down the tooth enamel until only hard and stable tooth material is left. The problem with teeth that appear to be healthy is that the enamel can actually be very weak end ready to form a visible cavity. If the dentist does not remove all the tooth material, then the filling will not hold.
Our dentist will either use ceramic inlays, amalgam fillings, or a tooth-colored plastic resin that is hardened with a UV light. The resin fillings are increasing in popularity because they blend in so well but don’t last as long as amalgam fillings.
If you have a cavity in Scottsdale or Downtown Phoenix contact our offices to schedule an appointment.