Regardless of age, anyone who has teeth can get cavities, and cavities and dental decay are among the world’s most common health problems. Permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth, cavities develop into very small openings or holes. Also referred to as tooth decay, cavities are caused by a combination of things, including teeth not being cleaned well, bacteria in your mouth, snacking too often, and drinking overly sugared beverages. Our Washington Township general dentist, Dr. Baqir Jaffery, likes to educate all our patients on the importance of good oral hygiene and the consequences of cavities and tooth decay.
If cavities are left untreated, they get larger and soon affect the deeper layers of your teeth. This untreated tooth decay will also lead to severe toothache, infection and, ultimately, loss of the tooth. Dr. Ettelson cannot stress enough how important regular dental visits are as well as good brushing and flossing habits to prevent tooth decay and cavities. Depending on the location and extent of decay, the symptoms can vary. Some signs to watch out for are toothache, sensitivity or sharp pain when eating sweets or something hot or cold, pain when biting down, visible holes in teeth, or any discharge around teeth or gums. When a cavity is new there is often no symptom at all but our dentist might be able to see decay starting and recommend the proper steps to prevent it from getting worse. That’s why it’s important to make and keep regular dental checkup appointments with our Washington Township general dentist, as well and cleanings. Your mouth may feel fine but by the time you notice symptoms, the damage is getting worse.
As far as treatments for tooth decay go, they depend on the severity of the decay and each patient’s situation. Fluoride is a mineral that helps teeth repair themselves and fluoride treatments are common at early stages of decay. Fillings replace decayed areas of your teeth and are the leading treatment option once the damage has become permanent. If you have severe tooth decay or your teeth have weakened due to the cavity, you may need a crown rather than a filling to restore your tooth. Our Washington Township general dentist will recommend a root canal when decay reaches your tooth’s pulp (the inner material of your tooth). With this procedure, the tooth pulp is removed and replaced with a filling. Dr. Ettelson prides himself on keeping his patients educated on not only symptoms and treatments, but causes. With this education, patients may be able to avoid costly and uncomfortable dental problems which can lead to tooth loss.