Many children are intimidated by the prospect of pain during a visit to the dentist. Unfortunately, that fear is often carried into adulthood. It is pretty commonplace to avoid making dental appointments. There is a mistaken belief that consistent brushing serves as adequate dental care as long as the teeth are not falling out.
Daily brushing is a vital component of oral hygiene. However, there is no substitution for a thorough, in-depth checkup performed by a professional. Dentists are fully licensed to identify any areas of concern that can easily be missed or dismissed as minor. One of the most commonly discounted concerns is cavities. It is not unheard of for people to assume all is well until they have to make an urgent trip to the dentist due to excessive pain and discomfort.
What are cavities?
Cavities are also known as tooth decays. They are damaged areas in the teeth that become small holes over time. Cavities are caused by: bacteria in your mouth from the food you eat, taking sugary drinks, and failure to adequately clean your teeth. These elements altogether become catalysts for damage to the teeth over time.
Cavities are one of the most ubiquitous health concerns. If left untreated, tooth decay worsens over time, becoming bigger while burrowing deeper into the layers of the tooth. Consequently, you may experience severe toothaches, infections or tooth loss.
Why Should You Get Your Cavity Filled?
Primarily, cavities are easiest to resolve when they are detected early. Quick discovery eliminates the need for complicated procedures while preventing further harm to the tooth. Suppose the tooth decay has already progressed? Such a scenario will require more advanced action, including performing a root canal or fitting the tooth with a crown. Some particularly severe cases of cavities call for tooth removal as a resolution.
Cavities that are not filled in time bring about severe complications with lasting effects. Some examples of difficulties arising from untreated tooth decay are:
- Pain, which can interfere with daily living.
- Formation of tooth abscesses.
- Difficulty eating.
- Tooth damage or breakage.
- Tooth loss.
Perhaps the primary concerning complication is the formation of a tooth abscess. An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms around the tooth due to infection. When the cavity progresses to an advanced state, it exposes parts of the tooth more vulnerable to bacteria and subsequent infection. Without treatment, tooth abscesses are likely to spread the infection to the jaw bone and subsequently result in sepsis. Sepsis is an extreme reaction to an infection in the body – it can be life-threatening.
Is there any treatment for cavities?
Treatment for cavities entails an examination of the affected area before adding a filling to correct it. Having a cavity filled is a straightforward process where the dentist drills a hole in the tooth to extract the affected portion. Next, a composite resin is used to fill the gap. It is often coloured to match your teeth. That way, the filling blends seamlessly into the rest of the tooth and remains virtually indistinguishable.
If you have a cavity you have not seen your dentist about, you must make an appointment as soon as you are able. The complications from an untreated cavity can be life-altering. However, there is no cause for fear. A visit to the dentist does not have to mean pain. Medical advances have provided the means to mitigate discomfort.
On the other hand, it is best to avoid getting cavities altogether. You can do so by maintaining high levels of oral hygiene- twice-daily brushing and flossing- and making regular visits to the dentist without fail.