Cavities and Tooth Decay


Tooth decay is, by far, the most common dental problem experienced both by children and adults. It’s estimated that adults from the age of 20 to 64 have an average of 3.28 seriously decayed teeth, and quite a few other teeth that have been at least moderately affected by tooth decay.

The best way to treat tooth decay is with preventative dentistry. If you get regular 6-month teeth cleanings and oral exams at Lakewood Smiles. Dr. Nancy William can examine your mouth, and identify tooth decay while it’s still in the early stages. This allows you to avoid serious cavities and tooth decay. You may not even need a filling if the cavity is caught in time.

What Causes Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria. There are more than 6 billion bacteria in your mouth. Most of them are harmless, and some are even beneficial to your oral health.

But if you don’t take proper care of your teeth and gums, you may leave behind food particles or other materials. Harmful bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans will feed on these particles, and multiply dramatically. Starchy and sugary foods, in particular, are a favorite of these bacteria.

As these bacteria eat sugars and carbohydrates, they leave behind an acidic residue, which is strong enough to wear away at the enamel and dentin of your teeth. Over time, this results in a cavity or even a tooth infection.

The Stages Of Tooth Decay

There are four recognized stages of tooth decay.

  • Decay in enamel – Decay in enamel is usually quite hard to identify on your own. It is painless, and usually only affects a small layer of enamel on the top of your tooth. At this stage, a cavity is usually reversible and won’t require a filling.
  • Advanced decay – When decay reaches past the initial enamel layer, and the cavity becomes larger and closer to the dentin, you may need a filling. At this stage, the cavity will still be painless.
  • Decay in pulp – If the decay reaches past the dentin into the soft, nerve-filled pulp that lies under your tooth, you will experience significant pain and toothache. You may need root canal therapy to treat your dental infection, or your tooth may have to be extracted.
  • Decay in dentin – Your teeth are composed of a layer of enamel, under which lies a layer of dentin. Once the dentin starts to wear away, you are likely to feel some pain. A filling or crown is always required at this stage.

Don’t Let Your Cavities Go Untreated – Come To Lakewood Smiles Today!

Preventative dentistry in Lakewood is the only way to avoid cavities and fillings. Because most early-stage cavities do not cause any pain, they can often only be identified during an oral exam or teeth cleaning with one of our hygienists or dentists.

Don’t pay for expensive fillings, or suffer from decayed teeth. At our preventative dentist in Lakewood, you can get the teeth cleanings and oral exams you need to keep your teeth healthy.

Do we see kids? Absolutely!

Schedule Your Appointment

Please call us at (562) 866-0406 or schedule your appointment online.

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