What Is A Cavity?

A cavity is a hole in your tooth that occurs as the result of tooth decay. Cavities start small and grow in size if they aren’t treated soon enough. Cavities are often hard to detect because, especially in the beginning, they don’t usually cause pain. Keep reading to hear more about it, then give our Royal Oak, MI dentist’s office a call at 248-712-1522 (Royal Oak) 248-963-1969 (New Hudson) to schedule an easy appointment at North Oaks Dental.

Symptoms of A Tooth Cavity

The symptoms of a cavity depend on how severe the decay is. The most common symptoms of tooth cavities include:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth pain
  • A noticeable hole in your teeth
  • Black or white discoloration on your teeth

Again, keep in mind that the above symptoms don’t have to be present for you to have a cavity. In many cases, it takes a professional examination by a dentist or dental hygienist to spot a cavity, or other oral health problem.

What Causes Cavities?

Cavities in your teeth are caused by an accumulation of plaque, a sticky substance that clings to your teeth. Plaque is made up of:

  • Saliva
  • Bacteria
  • Food particles
  • Acid

The above substances are no stranger to your mouth. But after eating or drinking foods with sugar, the bacteria in your mouth turn that sugar into acid. Plaque then starts to build-up on your teeth, where it lingers and damages your teeth if it isn’t removed. This is why it’s important to brush your teeth at least twice a day.
When plaque lingers on your teeth, the acid within it slowly wears away at your tooth enamel. Enamel is essential because it is the hard coating that protects your teeth from tooth decay. As this enamel becomes weaker, the risk for tooth decay increases.

Cavity Risk Factors

Anyone can develop a cavity, but some people are at a higher risk than others. Common risk factors include:

  • Consuming too many sugary or acidic foods and drinks
  • Poor oral hygiene (not brushing or flossing daily)
  • Not getting enough fluoride
  • Dry mouth
  • Acid reflux disease
  • Eating disorders

Cavities are more common in the back teeth because your molars have grooves and openings that make it easy for food particles to get trapped. These teeth are also typically harder to clean than your front teeth.

How A Cavity is Treated

If you think you have a cavity, call our Royal Oak office as soon as possible. In most cases, we can identify a cavity during an oral exam, but if necessary, we will use an X-ray to spot any tooth decay.
How your cavity is treated will depend on how severe it is. Treatment options for a cavity include:

  • Tooth fillings
    • After removing all the decayed material from your tooth, we fill it with a substance that suits your needs, such as silver, gold or composite resin.
  • Dental crowns
    • In cases where the decay is more severe, a dental crown may be required. All the decayed material will be removed from the tooth, then a customized cap will be placed over the tooth to protect it from further damage.
  • Root canal
    • When tooth decay is so severe that it causes the death of the nerves of your tooth, a root canal is required. During a root canal, we remove the nerve tissue, blood vessel tissues, and any decayed parts of the tooth. If necessary, we treat the infection and apply medication, then fill the tooth and possibly place a crown on it.

If you think you could have a cavity, don’t wait another minute to call. You can reach our team at North Oaks Dental at 248-712-1522 (Royal Oak) 248-963-1969 (New Hudson) or use our online form. We will get you the treatment you need as soon as possible.