Tooth decay and cavities are the main culprits in damaging a healthy smile. This happens when oral bacteria feed on sugary foods and create acids. This acid then mixes with bacteria, food particles and saliva to form a sticky film called plaque.
Bacterial plaque erodes tooth enamel resulting in tiny openings in the tooth. These holes allow the decay reaches the softer dentin layer under the enamel. As plaque attacks the dentin it eventually reaches the inner layer of the tooth or tooth pulp. Unless this progression is halted, the bone supporting the tooth will also be affected. And if the decay continues, your body will send out white blood cells to fight it and may have an abscessed tooth requiring a root canal.
Your six-month dental cleanings and checkups help prevent tooth decay from invading your smile, as we can eliminate hardened plaque (tartar) on the teeth and gumline. We also spot cavities in the beginning stages. Otherwise, you may find yourself exhibiting the following signs indicating a cavity is present in your smile:
- Spotting a dark area on a tooth.
- Heightened sensitivity to hot/cold foods and drinks.
- Experiencing pain when chewing food or biting down.
- Heightened sensitivity to breathing in cold air through the mouth.
- Losing a dental filling.
- Heightened sensitivity to sticky, sweet, or sour foods.
- Experiencing sharp or throbbing pain in a tooth.
- Fracturing or chipping a tooth.
When Dr. Michael O'Neill repairs a cavity, he removes the decay and fills the hole with a filling material. At Wildwood Family & Cosmetic Dentistry we offer composite, tooth-colored fillings to give you a natural-looking result.
If you suspect you may have a cavity, please reach out to our team in Toledo, Ohio at 419.605.9818 for as soon as possible. And if you are behind on your biannual dental cleanings and exams, now is a good time to get back on track. Don’t let cavities invade your smile!