From a young age, many of us learn to be concerned at the dentist’s office that we will hear the dreaded words: “Yep. You have a cavity.” But what are cavities exactly? And why are they something we all fear, as well as an issue that’s also all too common?
At Downtown Dental Studios, our providers — Fadi Beydoun, DMD, MS, Alexander Kimon, DMD, and Karina Zaygermakher, DMD — spend as much time trying to help patients avoid cavities as they do treating them. But if you do wind up with one, know you will be in good hands, as we offer many treatments for this prevalent problem.
First off, what even is a cavity? Well, it’s a type of tooth decay that causes an actual hole (or cavity) in the tooth. Several steps occur to create a cavity, which are highlighted here.
- The bacteria in your mouth (usually transferred from the things you eat) merges with pieces of food, saliva, and other material to create plaque.
- The plaque adheres to your teeth and as the result of improper oral hygiene or skipping your regular teeth cleanings, hardens into tartar.
- Tartar and plaque are full of acids that damage your tooth enamel over time, causing holes called cavities to form.
When you have a cavity, the common symptoms are tooth pain, sensitivity, stains on the tooth, and even visible holes in the surface of the tooth. It’s usually pretty easy to identify something is wrong, as the symptoms are noticeable and uncomfortable.
Most people are aware of this potential problem because it is extremely widespread. According to the CDC, the percentage of adults aged 20 to 44 with untreated cavities and tooth decay was 25.9% between 2015 and 2018. However, leaving issues like these untreated is what you shouldn’t do.
What happens next
When you realize that you are dealing with a cavity (or at least you think you are), going to the dentist should be your next logical step. You should never try to deal with a cavity on your own, and the problem will have progressed past simple, at-home oral hygiene.
You will first need a diagnosis for your cavity, and then the issue can be treated in many ways depending on the severity and the type of damage to the tooth. Some of the treatments we offer for cavities include:
- Inlays or onlays
- Root canals
- Tooth extractions
Fillings are simple procedures that allow us to pack the hole in the tooth with resin, while crowns, inlays, and onlays are different types of caps that cover the damaged portion of the tooth, protecting it from further damage. Root canals and tooth extractions are only necessary when the damage is very extensive.
After your treatment
Cavities are common problems, and if caught early, they are easy to treat in-office. We recommend reaching out immediately if you think you might be dealing with a cavity and to ensure you treat the problem as soon as possible.
The best treatment, however, is always prevention. If you continue to practice good oral hygiene at home and visit your dentist regularly, you will be able to avoid cavities altogether.
Do you need treatment for a cavity?
Reach out to us now to book an appointment. Call 212-964-3337 or visit our online appointment page to visit our Financial District office in NYC. We want you to be able to feel your best and to have every reason to smile!