As a Reston dentist, one of the most common dental problems we treat are cavities. While tooth decay has significantly decreased since the 1970’s due to new preventive methods and treatments, it is estimated 92% of adults have had dental caries in their permanent teeth. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 17% of children and 27% of adults currently have untreated cavities. Although the occurrence of tooth decay is fairly high, cavities are easily preventable. When detected early, treatment is simple and minimally invasive.
What is Tooth Decay?
Bacteria is naturally found in the mouth, as well as plaque. Plaque accumulates on the teeth, which is why oral hygiene is important to remove the buildup. However, when healthy oral habits are not maintained, bacteria levels in the mouth increase. When sugars and starches combine with the bacteria, it turns to acid. As the acid sits on the teeth, it slowly begins to eat away at the enamel, the hard outer layer of the teeth. Over time, the enamel will become weakened to the point the dentin underneath the enamel becomes exposed.
How is Tooth Decay Treated?
Regular dental checkups are vital to detecting weakened enamel and tooth decay in the early stages of development. Through a routine examination, we find the area of decay. We will remove the damaged area of the tooth using a minimally invasive procedure. After the decay is removed, a filling is then placed to seal the area. This will also restore the tooth’s health and function. With tooth-colored fillings, you will maintain a flawless smile.
Unfortunately, tooth decay is often detected when it has caused significant damage because regular dental appointments are not maintained. When the inner layers of the tooth become damaged or the area of decay is large, more invasive procedures, like root canal therapy, may be needed.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Decay?
Preventing tooth decay is fairly simple. You need to brush your teeth correctly twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily to keep plaque and bacteria levels to a minimum. In addition, eat a healthy diet that is limited in sugars and starches. You need to visit your dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and routine examination. At your semi-annual appointments, we offer many preventive treatments to stop the development of cavities.
Fluoride treatments are simple and noninvasive. Fluoride is known as “nature’s cavity fighter” because it helps to strengthen the enamel to prevent cavities. In addition, we can apply dental sealants to areas that have weakened enamel or areas that are prone to decay, such as the molars. With the right home care and treatment from your dentist, you can easily prevent the development of dental caries to protect your smile.
At Smiles by Myles, we are committed to building healthy, beautiful smiles. We offer the high-quality dental care you need to treat and prevent cavities. If you suspect you have a cavity, need cavity prevention, or a semi-annual appointment, please contact our office to schedule your consultation.