Why Cavities Need to be Treated Early
Were you told during your last dental checkup that you have a cavity? Perhaps our Clear Lake dentist told you that the decay needs to be treated, but you’re questioning whether or not you can wait to have the procedure done. Especially if you can’t see or feel it for yourself.
What Is A Cavity?
A cavity, also known as tooth decay, is an area of your tooth structure that has eroded and created an opening inside of the enamel. Regular enamel (the outermost layer of your teeth) is very hard. When decay occurs, this surface becomes soft. A cavity can look dark on your tooth, cause shadows on your X-rays, or create rough edges. Larger, severe cavities create significant holes that you can see with the naked eye.
What Causes Cavities?
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria, acid exposure, or excess sugar consumption. Not brushing properly or flossing, and avoiding regular professional care visits significantly increase your chances of developing cavities.
Cavities Don’t Get Better On Their Own
A cavity isn’t like a cold; you can’t take medication to make it go away. Once there is decay on your tooth, it’s there to stay. In fact, if not treated right away, cavities will continue to grow.
But What If Your Tooth Doesn’t Hurt?
So, your dentist told you that you have a cavity that needs to be treated. But your tooth doesn’t hurt, so you’re considering waiting to have the procedure done.
Our Clear Lake dentist recommend that you go ahead and have the decayed area taken care of as quickly as possible. Because once the cavity gets to a certain size it can cause severe pain…or never even hurt at all. Not only does emergency tooth pain happen at the worst opportune time 一 like right before a big job interview, or on your wedding day 一 but once a cavity is to the point where it affects the nerve, you’ll be beyond the point of needing a dental filling.
Larger Cavities are More Invasive and Expensive To Fix
A tooth with a small cavity is often repaired with a simple and inexpensive filling. If the decay continues to grow and the tooth becomes weak due to most of it being damaged, then a filling will not be enough to repair it. Our dentist may recommend that we remove the broken area of tooth, build it back up with a filling-type material, then cover everything with a crown. This treatment is complex than a simple filling, and dental crowns can cost as much as four times the amount of a filling.
Decay doesn’t stop until it’s treated, so if your cavity gets large enough that it reaches the nerve on the innermost part of your tooth, you’ll get an abscess. At this point we’ll need to remove the damaged nerve tissue with a root canal. Root canals are also complex, so some general dentists don’t even offer them in their office. Once you’ve had your root canal performed, you will also need a crown placed on the tooth to protect it.
If the decay has completely taken over, then there might not be enough healthy structure left to save. At this point you’ll be left with no other option than to have the tooth removed. If you’re interested in replacing the tooth we can see if an implant is an option. However, this treatment is quite complex, and takes several months to complete.
The best solution is to always treat your cavity immediately, while it’s small and minimally invasive to your tooth.
Cavity Detecting X-Rays
Sometimes you’ll have cavities that are between your teeth that we can’t see when we examine your mouth. This is a big reason why it’s so important to have yearly x-rays taken of your back teeth. Bitewing radiographs can save you from potentially needing more complex treatment once the decay has spread so much that it’s visible to the naked eye. These low-dose images are safe and allow us to intercept infections as early as possible.
Get Your Cavities Treated Today!
Don’t wait to have your cavity treated. Call Rosas Family Dentistry to schedule your restorative dental procedure today. If you haven’t had a checkup in a while, be sure to let us know. We can complete a full dental exam along with X-rays and a professional tooth cleaning. The friendly and experienced team at our Clear Lake family dental office can help to get your smile back on track. Call today to schedule!