Dental decay is among the most common health issues in the nation. Understanding how it develops can empower you to take steps to reduce your risk level.
The outermost layer of your teeth is a thin shell of hard tissue called enamel. Your enamel is incredibly durable and strong, but it is also subject to damage.
When you eat or drink, a portion of the starches and sugars in food and beverages can stick to the surface of your teeth. The bacteria that are already present within your mouth will feed on these starches and sugars and combine with them to form a sticky substance called plaque. If plaque isn’t fully removed within a few days, it hardens into a substance called tartar.
The bacteria within plaque creates acids that begin to eat away at your tooth enamel by removing minerals. In the earliest stages this process can be reversed, but once the bacteria and acids reach the next layer of tooth tissue (dentin), it requires a filling to stop the decay.
Dental fillings treat cavities by creating a strong barrier between the damaged tooth tissue and the environment of the mouth. They are among the most common dental treatments in the nation.
When you come in for a filling, Dr. Grotz begins by giving you an injection of numbing medication to eliminate all sensation in the treatment area. He then carefully removes all damaged tooth tissue, preserving as much healthy tissue as possible.
He then cleans and dries the cavity before placing the filling material inside. Metal amalgam fillings were once the standard in dentistry, but today, most people choose to have tooth-colored composite resin fillings.
Once the filling material has cured or hardened, the treatment is complete. Dr. Grotz will check the filling during your future dental exams to make sure it is still effectively preventing further dental decay.
Unlike some dental health issues, cavities can be prevented. The best thing you can do to reduce your risk of dental decay is to embrace a solid dental hygiene routine of daily brushing and flossing.
Coming in for routine dental exams is also essential. Dr. Grotz has the tools and experience needed to check your teeth for the early signs of decay, including the areas between teeth and beneath the gum line.
Other ways to keep your teeth healthy and strong include avoiding excessively sugary or sticky foods. Research shows that kids who eat a lot of candy and drink soda have higher rates of dental decay than those who are provided with healthier options.
If you’d like more information about fillings or dental hygiene, schedule a visit at OakGrove Family Dental online or over the phone at your earliest convenience.