A Cavity: From Birth to Damage

November 29, 2023

Though nobody wants to get cavities, so many of us do. These areas of decay in teeth are the result of plaque, a pasty biofilm of bacteria that sticks to your teeth because they thrive on the sugar in food and beverages we constantly consume. 

Routine cleanings at the office of John G. Fletcher, DMD will help you fight cavities. When you need a standard checkup, a diagnosis or in-depth treatment, you’ll find our staff to be highly skilled and personable. We’ll help you make informed decisions about the treatment that’s best for you.

Plaque’s bacteria emit acid that eats away at crystalline calcium phosphate, a mineral compound on the enamel that surrounds and protects the inner parts of your teeth. This demineralization forges tiny openings in enamel and spawns cavities. 

Left untreated, the acid will start to invade the dentin, the next layer of teeth that’s consists of tiny tubules. When enamel has been eaten away, the tubules act as conduits that let hot, cold, acidic and sticky foods aggravate a tooth’s nerves, and trigger sensitivity and pain. If allowed to proceed, the plaque will continue to corrode the tooth until it gets to the pulp, a tooth’s innermost sanctum that holds blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues. 

A disturbed pulp is an angry pulp! When a cavity’s bacteria make their way to the pulp, an abscess can form. The result? A really bad toothache, a fever, and extreme sensitivity to pressure, hot and cold. The abscess can even cause your cheeks to swell. 

Going to the dentist for a cleaning and examination every six months (some people prefer every four or five months) will help remove plaque to stop cavities from forming. Luckily, though, cavities can be “nipped in the bud” before they get to the dentin and pulp. A dentist will fill it right away before it progresses and turns into something serious. 

Though cavities are common, they needn’t be common for you if you practice excellent oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly. The office of John G. Fletcher, DMD is committed to excellence by providing compassionate care using our state-of-the-art technology and high-quality products. Please call us today to arrange an appointment. 

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Our goal is to help every patient experience the benefits of good oral health and a beautiful smile. We value the trust you have placed in our office and strive to provide solutions that meet your dental needs and expectations of care.