Dealing with tooth cavities can take a toll on your wellbeing, as they often cause pain and discomfort. Moreover, the condition can worsen over a short period, making it hard to continue with your normal life and avoid recurrent discomfort. Due to this, you want to understand what cavities are and why treating them is important, as it will help you or your loved ones overcome the problem. Further, understanding the different tips to help safeguard yourself against cavities goes a long way in improving your dental health. With the help of your dentist, you can also receive quality medical care that is essential in cavity management. At Northridge dentist, we dedicate our services to helping clients suffering from cavities and other dental conditions regain their health through various treatment options. Moreover, we are happy to answer any questions and provide tips to help improve your dental health.
Understanding What Cavities are
Upon growing teeth during childhood, you take up extra responsibility to ensure they remain clean and healthy by preventing bacterial attacks. To do this, you will need to clean your teeth regularly using fluoride toothpaste, as it helps deter the growth and spread of bacteria.
When the tooth cleaning routine becomes inconsistent, bacteria develop faster in your mouth, meaning that they pose a bigger risk to your general dental health. As a result, the enamel part of your teeth faces permanent damage from the bacterial activity, exposing you to pain and difficulties in chewing.
Typically, cavities manifest themselves as black spots or holes on your teeth, indicating significant damage to the tooth enamel. More severe cases will involve larger holes developed on the affected tooth, meaning that the patient may not use the tooth entirely for regular activities like biting and chewing.
The Cavity Development Process
As discussed, a cavity develops after bacteria spreads in the mouth, leading to the deterioration of the enamel. However, you also need to understand the specific process leading to cavity development, as it helps you understand how to safeguard yourself from frequent cavity attacks better. Moreover, you can prevent tooth decay caused by severe untreated cavities upon learning the various cavity development stages. They are:
Formation of Plaque on Your Teeth
Plaque formation is often the leading cause of cavities forming on your teeth, as it indicates a lack of consistent brushing. Usually, the plaque forms as a reaction to chemical deposits by active bacteria on your teeth after consuming sugar from the foods you take.
For example, after drinking a sugary soft drink, the sugar deposits left between your teeth provide energy sources for the bacteria in your mouth. Consequently, they will act on it and produce a white film deposit known as the plaque.
By repeating taking sugary food or drinks, the bacteria continue producing chemicals that create more plaque. Subsequently, the deposits harden and form a thicker plaque layer which may be difficult to remove. On top of this, the thick layer will harbor more bacteria, resulting in a quick decline in your oral health.
Enamel Destruction from the Chemicals Found in Plaque
As mentioned, plaque forms based on the bacterial activity surrounding your teeth. This means that the plaque deposits are corrosive to your teeth and may cause significant damage if not cleaned on time.
Usually, the chemical contained in plaque is acidic, so it dissolves your tooth enamel to create cracks or holes. As a result, staying for long durations without clearing the plaque creates more toxic surroundings for your teeth, meaning that you will notice tooth deterioration sooner. Even when you remove plaque layers by brushing, the effects of corrosion may still be apparent, as bacteria continue spreading every time you consume sugary foods.
Therefore, the best option may be to reduce or cut off sugary food consumption or clean your teeth soon after consuming them. However, since most patients are unaware of the progressive condition, they may fail to take up the urgency in brushing regularly and thoroughly, resulting in continuous chemical corrosion by the plaque.
Corrosion of the Dentin Layer
Severe cavities can also cause serious tooth damage beyond the enamel layer, creating additional problems for you. This is because the internal tooth structure is sensitive to external conditions because it is covered by blood vessels and nerves.
An example of a sensitive internal tooth structure is the pulp, where nourishment and blood exchange through microscopic blood vessels occurs. Any damage to the vital components caused by acidic plaque conditions is harmful to your health.
Moreover, the intense bacterial spread may cause your dentin flesh to decay, resulting in serious bacterial infection conditions like sepsis. If so, you may require additional medical attention, including emergency hospitalization and medication, especially if the sepsis condition is aggravated in your situation. To avoid this, you want to seek medical attention from your dentist soon after discovering a cavity.
Symptoms of Cavity Conditions in Your Teeth
While most patients can identify cavities forming and seek medical attention for the condition, some cases involve gradual attacks, meaning that you will only identify the problem when it becomes serious. Nevertheless, you can learn about the various symptoms associated with cavities to help you determine when best to consult your dentist.
Hence, monitoring your general health and any unexplained pain will be useful in determining when best to consult a dentist. The following are common cavity symptoms:
Tooth sensitivity affects many persons for various reasons, including cavities present on the teeth. Usually, the problem occurs when nerves in the tooth are exposed to external conditions like high or low temperatures. Due to the nerve sensitivity, you will experience a sharp pain that makes it difficult to chew, bite, or even remain at a resting position. Thus, your quality of life reduces significantly, causing additional problems for you.
Furthermore, you may experience toothaches for an extended duration caused by the exposure of your pulp to bacteria and acidic plaque conditions. The toothache may begin as mild then build into excruciating pain, preventing you from regularly undertaking your duties. Further, you may have difficulties eating, meaning that your appetite reduces significantly.
You can distinguish toothaches caused by cavities from other conditions by their frequency. For example, if you still feel discomfort even after taking pain medication, it means that the causes are still unresolved and that you require additional oral examinations to treat the problem.
Holes, Cracks, or Pits on the Affected Tooth
A significant indicator of cavities is holes, cracks, or pits on the affected tooth, leading to pulp and dentin area exposure. Normally, the holes are visible after a few months of bacteria spreading and spreading plaque on the teeth, as the corrosion may take some time.
If you brush your teeth inconsistently, the holes may take longer to manifest than patients who do not brush, as the plaque formed earlier is removed. Despite this, the damage from the earlier deposited plaque will still be present, causing further tooth corrosion.
Upon noticing the holes, you want to contact your dentist as soon as possible for further examination. The holes or pits may sometimes occur from different factors like corrosive chemicals or contaminated water. On the other hand, the holes may be caused by cavities, so the dentist must distinguish the difference.
Moderate or Sharp Pain When Biting or Chewing
Some patients may also report sharp or mild pain when chewing or biting foods, particularly if the pain is unexpected and alternates in the frequency of occurrence. This often indicates building tooth sensitivity, meaning that your tooth pulp is exposed as the nerves are sending pain signals to the brain. As a result, urgent professional attention should be applied to help you combat the pain and treat the affected area. Failure to do so may expose you to worse conditions and jeopardize your general health.
Why You Need Medical Attention to Treat Cavities
Upon learning about the dangers that cavities pose to your health, it becomes clearer why seeking professional services to treat them is necessary. Your dentist may prescribe various treatment options depending on the severity of your condition. Hence, you do not have to worry about undergoing intense procedures like surgical teeth removal.
Conversely, you may seek medical advice hoping to undergo a minor procedure, but have the dentist recommend an intense medical intervention process. Therefore, you want to prepare yourself to receive various medical conclusions.
Attending cavities is essential because it helps prevent complications affecting your overall dental health. These conditions include:
Weight Loss and Lower Immunity
Naturally, patients experiencing constant pain and tooth discomfort are less likely to eat consistently as required. Due to this, you may experience a sharp decline in a healthy weight, resulting in malnutrition in serious cases. Therefore, your body becomes weaker than usual because you do not receive sufficient nutrients and energy to help you lead a normal life.
Further, your immunity may also decrease because of poor feeding habits after you develop cavities. The reasoning behind this is that you will have fewer nutrients in your bloodstream. Consequently, you become more prone to diseases, including minor bacterial attacks, otherwise manageable when your immunity is strong.
Broken and Damaged Teeth
Secondly, the affected teeth may become severely damaged if the enamel faces significant deterioration. Hence, the teeth' holes, cracks, or patches may worsen over time, making it impossible to use your teeth for regular functions like chewing and biting.
Most patients will need to consider additional dental procedures like tooth extractions to remove the damaged tooth because having it remain in place may expose you to more bacterial attacks. Subsequently, you may have to factor in additional expenses that you may not have anticipated on the undertaking.
Although cavities occur because of increased bacterial activity in your mouth, your body will also try to fight the disease-causing microorganisms and safeguard itself from infections. In doing so, your white blood cells are deployed to kill the bacteria and restore your health. However, you will also lose some white blood cells in the process, which then accumulate into a fluid called pus.
Usually, the pus accumulates in tooth pockets found on the tooth pulp or dentine. The pus pockets can cause pain and discomfort for affected patients, as it occupies and presses on nerves and soft gum tissue. The condition is a dental abscess and requires urgent medical attention to remove the pus pockets.
Patients receiving the treatment may have to receive anesthesia and undergo minor invasive surgery as the dentist aims to clean the affected area and drain the pus. Hence, you may have to plan for the procedure in advance to factor in the expenses and medical involvement required. You can avoid developing these complications by working with a dentist to treat cavities early enough.
Teeth Falling Out
If the cavities develop into a serious condition that affects the roots, you may also begin to experience tooth loss as the affected teeth fall off. The root is no longer strong enough to harbor the enamel, dentin, and pulp, meaning it cannot remain in position.
An early indicator of potential tooth loss is when the affected tooth/teeth change position on the jawbone. For example, your incisors should be at the front of your mouth for biting functions. Thus, when your incisors begin to shift to different positions on the side, you want to contact your dentist as soon as possible for a thorough examination on whether cavities triggered the movement.
Notably, most cases resulting in teeth loss can be remedied by having dental implants and crowns placed. Although the procedures may take longer, they serve you best to ensure your gums are well covered and protected to avoid future recurrences where bacteria multiply and spread into the sensitive tooth areas.
Contact a Northridge Dentist Near Me
Doubtless, cavities can interrupt your normal life activities by reducing the quality of experiences you have, especially when eating. Serious cases may also interfere with your ability to work, study or relax due to the constant pain. Therefore, you want to understand how to combat the condition to help you make a full recovery and avoid developing cavities in the future. At Northridge Advanced Dentistry, you will receive excellent dental services from trained professionals dedicated to helping you deal with cavities and the associated symptoms after suffering an attack. Our wealth of experience has enabled us to help clients suffering from cavities in Northridge, California, giving them a chance to improve their dental health. For more information on cavities and how to avoid/treat them, call us today at 818-701-3010.