Tooth decay is the most common dental problem we treat with 92% of adults having had at least one cavity in a permanent tooth. While cavities are common, many people are not aware they have a dental cary, which is why roughly 26% of adults and 19% of children currently have untreated tooth decay. Regular dental checkups with your dentist in Arlington, VA are vital for the early detection of cavities. However, 34% of people did not visit the dentist last year, allowing tooth decay to go undetected. In addition, cavities can develop in between semi-annual appointments. It is essential cavities are treated promptly to prevent further damage to the tooth.
What is a Cavity?
Essentially, a cavity is a hole that develops in the enamel over time to expose the inner layer of the tooth, known as the dentin. Cavities form from acids that develop in the mouth when sugars combine with plaque. As plaque sits on the teeth, the acid slowly begins to eat away at the enamel. If prompt intervention is not used, the enamel will become weakened to the point a hole forms.
How Do I Know If I Have a Cavity?
The only sure way to tell if you have a cavity is with your dentist in Arlington. Your dentist will perform a clinical examination and use diagnostic images to look for areas of decay. Regular dental appointments are necessary to detect areas of weakened enamel before they become worse. By doing so, we can provide certain treatments, such as a dental sealant or fluoride treatment, to prevent the enamel from further damage.
In addition, regular appointments are vital to detecting cavities while they are still small. When tooth decay is found early, it can be repaired with a simple dental filling. However, if the cavity goes untreated, the decay will become larger and extend deeper into the tooth, potentially causing the tooth to break or become infected. At this point, a more extensive procedure will be required, such as a root canal.
While a dentist is the only way to properly diagnose tooth decay, there are several indicators that may point to the development of a cavity. As the enamel becomes weaker, your tooth may become sensitive to temperature changes, sugary and acidic foods, and even inhaling cold air. You may even see a dark spot forming on your tooth.
How Can I Prevent Cavities?
The best prevention for tooth decay involves oral hygiene. You need to use a fluoride toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your teeth twice a day. You also need to use an ADA-approved dental floss to clean between eat tooth and around the gum line daily.
To help keep your enamel strong, eat a balanced diet and limit your consumption of sugary and starchy foods. You will need to maintain semi-annual dental appointments for cleanings and checkups.
We offer the preventive care you need to stop cavities. However, if you already have a cavity, we also offer the care you need to restore the health of your tooth. Give us a call at (703) 495-2247, or request an appointment online today.