Most people ask us here at Avalon Dental Group, “what exactly is a cavity?” Simply, as the name implies, a cavity is a “hole” in your tooth. Obviously that answer leads to the heart of the question which is, “how does it get there?”
A cavity, or dental caries, is actually a disease process that affects your teeth. Most cavities begin with the weakening of your teeth’s hard protective coating, the enamel. This weakening is caused by the waste products of certain bacteria that naturally live in your mouth. When these bacteria are fed sugars, or carbohydrates, they release acids as they digest the sugars. This acid over time weakens the enamel and creates the “hole.”
When these bacteria’s waste products reach the softer material, the dentin, under the enamel, the acids rapidly weakens even more of the tooth. It is at this stage of the process where a dental filling will be needed to heal the disease.
Untreated dentin cavities will rapidly progress to the heart, or pulp, of the tooth where the nerve and blood supply resides. When the waste products and bacteria reaches the pulp, a toothache occurs. At this stage the tooth must have a root canal procedure to heal the disease.
It is important to understand that cavities are serious, because as the bacteria reach the nerve and blood supply of the tooth, it allows bacteria to access your bloodstream and travel throughout your body. So all diagnoses of cavities should be taken seriously and corrected as soon as possible.
If you have any more questions about cavities or any other dental topic please feel free to visit us on the web and either call or chat with us live on the web!