Cavities will affect most people at some point in their lifetimes. These early forms of tooth decay develop when natural oral bacteria penetrate a weak spot in the tooth’s enamel, or outer layer. The bacteria then eat away at the dental structure until a hole develops in the surface.
Dentists diagnose tooth decay with a visual exam or a dental x-ray. Then they recommend urgent treatment to get rid of the decay. If you delay this dental work, you risk the decay becoming worse and causing significant, irreversible damage to your smile.
Cavities do not go away on their own, so you will need this dental attention to restore your oral health. Read on to learn more about the need for prompt intervention when it comes to treating cavities.
Dangers of Untreated Tooth Decay
Without treatment, a cavity will advance so that decay reaches beyond the enamel and to the inner dentin layer of the tooth. Then bacteria can access the nerves there, which can result in pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.
This also leaves the patient at a great risk of infection within the tooth. They could form an abscess, which might spread bacteria throughout the body and lead to further medical concerns. So you should avoid these heightened risk levels by seeking treatment for cavities as soon as you can before the decay progresses.
Treating Cavities vs Advanced Tooth Decay
Dentists treat cavities by removing the decayed part of the enamel and filling the resulting hole with composite resin. You receive a local anesthetic prior to beginning this procedure to numb the area and ensure you do not feel discomfort during the process.
The dental filling rebuilds the tooth structure that decay destroyed. The resin also creates a seal over the vulnerable part of the tooth, stopping more bacteria from accessing this area and forming another cavity.
Once gone, a cavity will not return. The dental filling can restore the tooth’s health for ten years with proper care and maintenance. But if you do not take care of your smile, you could develop new decay in this same tooth, which will need additional treatment.
In cases of advanced tooth decay, a dentist will need to perform more extensive dental work to fully eradicate the decay. These patients will need a dental crown to restore and preserve the tooth following this treatment. A filling will not provide enough coverage after this procedure. The crown can protect the tooth for fifteen years or more.
For extreme tooth decay, a dentist might not be able to completely remove the decay, or a tooth might become infected. In these instances, a dentist might need to extract the tooth to stop the spread of this damage.
Preserve your dental structure and avoid oral health complications by seeking urgent treatment for a cavity. Talk to your dentist to schedule an appointment for this dental work and find tips to prevent cavities.