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Dentist looking in the mouth of a calm patient
Dr Chris Darby

Dr Chris Darby

Dental Cavities: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

One of the most common problems people come in to see us about at Lifetime Holistic Dental is tooth decay, also referred to as dental cavities. Generally, dental cavities are relatively easy to fix, requiring a simple filling. But, if they’re not caught early enough, cavities can lead to a whole host of problems like tooth and bone loss, as well as gum disease and root canal infections.

What Causes Dental Cavities?

Enamel is the hard outer surface of the tooth which protects the inside of the tooth from bacterial plaque and acid attack. Over time, however, the enamel can be eroded away, leaving the rest of the tooth exposed to acid and plaque, which can eventually break down the whole tooth if left untreated. It can even result in what is called a root cavity, wherein the nerves of your teeth become exposed and so it becomes painful to eat or drink.

Luckily, there are steps that can be taken to help prevent cavities. By knowing what causes cavities, you are better equipped to avoid getting them:

  • Bad oral hygiene: By not brushing or flossing your teeth often enough or well enough, you allow plaque build-up which leads to the breakdown of enamel.
  • Eating or drinking sugary or acidic food and drink: Certain food and drink promote plaque production, particularly sugary, starchy, and acidic food and drink. You should also be wary of foods that stick to your teeth and brush your teeth as soon as possible.
  • Frequent snacking: While there are many diets that suggest eating many small meals a day, this can be quite detrimental to your teeth, as every time you eat you give the acid in the food more time to damage your teeth.

Symptoms of a Dental Cavity

The symptoms you experience will depend on the stage the cavity is at. You may not even feel any symptoms at all when a cavity first starts to appear, which is why it’s important that you are getting regular dental check-ups.

If you do experience symptoms, however, common ones include:

  • Grey, brown, white, or black spots or staining on your tooth
  • Toothache or pain
  • Sensitivity to cold and hot
  • A visible hole in your tooth
  • Tooth sensitivity or feelings of pressure when you bite down
  • Bad breath
  • Pus may appear around the tooth for more serious cavities

Dental Cavity Treatment

In general, if the cavity is caught early enough, a filling is all that is needed to fix it.

At Lifetime Holistic Dental the procedure consists of:

  • A local anaesthetic is applied
  • The decayed tissue of the tooth is cleared away
  • A biocompatible and colour-matched resin is used to fill the hole
  • A light beam is used to cure the resin
  • The resin is shaped so that it is a comfortable fit

If a cavity is caught early enough, you might not even need a filling at all; a recalcifying treatment may be all that’s needed to reverse the damage that has been done.

If a cavity is severe, however, a pin may have to be inserted for a more substantial filling treatment for added retention. In some cases, where the cavity is left, it may be necessary to remove the tooth altogether.

Of course, the best treatment is prevention. In your daily life you can take measures that can help to prevent cavities such as brushing and flossing regularly, using antibacterial toothpaste, avoiding sugary and acidic foods and drinks, and not smoking.

Seeing a dentist regularly – at least twice a year – will also help to ensure that your oral hygiene is up to scratch. When you visit your dentist, you will also receive a professional clean, which can remove bacteria and plaque which is impossible to remove with normal brushing and flossing.

Why Choose Lifetime Holistic Dental

  • Our approach to dentistry is holistic, which means we care about more than just fixing the immediate problem. We will help you get to the root of the problem and educate you on how to prevent tooth decay in the future.
  • You can be sure that all that all of our dental treatments are completely biocompatible. While we care about fixing your teeth, we don’t want to harm the rest of your body in the process.
  • If you suffer from dental phobias, we offer pain free and sleep dentistry. That way, you have no excuse to not visit us and we can make sure your teeth get the treatment they need.

Contact Lifetime Holistic Dental Today

To get in touch with the friendly team at Lifetime Holistic Dental, just:

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