Dental Cavities (Caries): Symptoms, Causes & Treatment At Swiss Smile
At Swiss Smile, we understand the importance of healthy teeth and oral care. We aim to help our patients combat oral diseases and lead a healthy life. According to the World Health Organization, dental caries, or more commonly known as tooth decay or cavities, is one of the most common human diseases. Hence, we provide a host of treatment options for cavities.
To help our patients understand how to prevent a tooth cavity, we have provided an in-depth analysis of the signs, symptoms, and treatment options.
What Is A Cavity?
A cavity is nothing but a hole that forms in your tooth that starts small but eventually grows if left untreated. Essentially, anyone who has teeth can develop a cavity, including babies. As most cavities don’t cause pain in the beginning, hence, finding out that you have a cavity can come as a surprise.
Symptoms of Tooth Cavities
Tooth cavities symptoms can vary, depending on the extent and location. Common symptoms include:
- Spontaneous tooth pain that occurs without any cause
- Sensitivity in the tooth
- Mild to sharp pain while consuming something hot or cold
- Visible holes in your tooth
- Staining on the surface of your tooth
- Mild to sharp pain when you bite down
If you’re undergoing any of the symptoms above, it is recommended to contact your nearest Swiss Smile dental clinic at the earliest.
The Causes of Tooth Cavity
To understand how to prevent a cavity, it is first important to identify how it is caused. Generally, most cavities are formed in a three-step process:
The Formation of Plaque
A clear sticky film that coats your teeth, known as dental plaque, is the first occurrence of a cavity. It is generally caused if you consume too much sugar or starch and don’t clean your teeth well. As you don’t clean your teeth, the sugar or starch starts feeding the bacteria left behind on the tooth, which finally leads to plaque. Eventually, the plaque hardens under or above your gum line, becoming tartar, or more commonly known as calculus. Calculus removal is far more difficult than removing plaque only.
The Attack of Plaque
As plaque is acidic, it removes the minerals present in your tooth’s outer enamel. This leads to the formation of tiny holes in your tooth - the first sign of a cavity. Once the enamel is worn away, the bacteria and acid start attacking the next layer called dentin. This layer wears away faster as it is softer and less resistant to acid. As dentin has tiny tubes that are directly connected to the nerve of the tooth, the attack on the dentin causes tooth sensitivity and you can feel tooth cavity pain for the first time.
The Cavity Grows
As the tooth decay keeps growing, the acid reaches your inner tooth, which contains nerves and blood vessels. This causes the inner tooth to become swollen and irritated from the bacteria. As there is no space for the expansion caused due to swelling, the pressure is put on the nerve, causing pain. If not treated, eventually, the pain will spread outside the tooth root to the bone.
How To Prevent Tooth Cavity
Good oral and dental hygiene can help you avoid cavities and tooth decay. To ensure our patients always maintain good oral hygiene, we recommend these best practices, which may help prevent tooth decay and cavity:
Brush With Fluoride Toothpaste After Drinking or Eating
We recommend brushing your teeth at least twice every day, ideally after every meal, while using fluoride toothpaste. The usage of floss or interdental brushes is also recommended to clean between your teeth.
Rinse Your Mouth
To ensure that there are no remnants of any signs of bacteria and for remineralization of the enamel surface, we recommend rinsing your mouth with fluoride.
Avoid Frequent Snacking & Sipping
If you are continuously snacking or sipping throughout the day, your teeth are under constant attack - especially if there is remains of plaque present.
Consume Tooth-Healthy Food
Avoid consuming food items that can get stuck in the grooves and pits of your teeth, and if you do consume them, we recommend brushing your teeth soon after eating them. On the other hand, it is encouraged to consume foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, unsweetened coffee and tea, and sugar-free gum in order to wash away food particles.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
At Swiss Smile, we can help you with professional teeth cleanings and oral exams, which can help prevent problems or at least spot them early on.
Tooth Cavity Treatment At Swiss Smile
If you are experiencing pain or sensitivity in your teeth, you should book an appointment with Swiss Smile at the earliest. Our team of experts will conduct an oral exam to identify tooth decay, and we will recommend the best treatment options, depending on the severity of the cavity. Some common treatment options we conduct include:
If the cavity is detected in its early stages, all we need to do is a simple fluoride treatment, which can restore the enamel and prevent any further decay. This is why we encourage our patients to conduct regular dental check-ups.
In the tooth cavity filling treatment, we use a drill to remove the decayed material from your tooth. Then, we conduct cavity filling with composite resin or other biocompatible materials.
Replacement of the Crown
In cases of severe decay, we place a custom-fit cap over the decayed tooth to replace its natural crown. Before replacing the crown, we will remove all the decayed tooth material.
Performing Root Canal
If the cavity has caused an inflammation or the death of the tooth’s nerves, we will perform a root canal treatment, wherein, the nerve and blood vessel tissues, and any other decayed areas of the tooth will be removed. After checking for any infections, appropriate medication will be applied to the roots for them to begin the healing process. Finally, the tooth is filled, and if needed, we will replace the crown.
In extreme cases of a root cavity, a tooth extraction procedure might have to be conducted.
To prevent your teeth from dental decay, it is recommended to attend dental hygiene treatments regularly. Book an appointment at your nearest Swiss Smile dental clinic to ensure your teeth are in the best condition!
Do you have any questions or do you need any advice?
We will be pleased to be of service and to provide you with individual support.