First, What Are Cavities?
Cavities are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth, created by bacteria. Bacteria in your mouth increase when you eat sugar or starch, which turn into plaque. The acid from the plaque causes tooth decay and cavities.
Why Do Cavities Hurt?
The damaged area of the tooth starts by affecting the hard protective layer, the enamel, of the tooth. Then it begins to reach deeper layers if left untreated. The further the decay is in the tooth, the more painful it will become because it gets closer to your nerve.
How To Treat Cavities
It is important to visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and X-rays so that cavities can be detected ASAP. Here are common treatments for cavities:
- Fluoride treatments at the very beginning of a cavity can restore enamel and reverse the cavity.
- Fillings are used when the cavity reaches the dentin, the surface below the enamel. The dentist cleans out the area and fills it with one of several materials.
- Crowns are used when the cavity affects a large portion of the tooth and removing it would weaken the tooth.
The best way to prevent cavities is to brush and floss twice a day, visit your dentist regularly, and limit your intake of sugary drinks and foods.