Tooth Cavities: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Article by Dr Raha Sepehrara

Toothache often strikes at the most inconvenient time. But while it’s annoying that you’ll need to get your tooth repaired, it’s a problem that you really should pay attention to. 

Toothaches are an indication that there’s a dental issue that needs addressing. A tooth cavity is only the start of your dental worries. Untreated tooth decay will lead to an infection and you’ll need a root canal treatment to remove it. 

The good news is that treating tooth cavities is straightforward. Spotting the symptoms of a tooth cavity early can help you get the treatment you need right away. 

Here’s everything you need to know about tooth cavities and how we treat them. 

What Are Tooth Cavities?

Dental cavities are sometimes referred to as tooth decay or caries. They are permanent holes that form in your tooth’s enamel. 

The enamel is the hard substance that coats the outside of your teeth. Although it’s the toughest material in the human body, enamel can deteriorate through a combination of diet, lifestyle, health issues, and poor oral hygiene. 

What Are the Signs of a Tooth Cavity?

In some cases, cavities form without you even noticing. Usually, you’ll feel pain or sensitivity in your tooth, particularly while you’re biting or chewing anything that’s either hot or cold. 

On closer inspection, you might notice a visible hole or dark area on your tooth. When you come to see us for an appointment, we’ll spot the signs early using x-rays and other scanners or through visual checks. 

What Causes Cavities?

Cavities form as a result of plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that’s made up of bacteria, food particles, and saliva. As it accumulates, plaque sticks to your teeth. 

When bacteria in the plaque feed on sugar from your food and drinks, it creates acid that harms the surface of your tooth. Over time, this acid causes tooth cavities to form.

Tooth decay is a common problem that can affect anyone. Some people are more likely to develop cavities. You’re more at risk if:

  • You have a lot of sugar in your food and drinks
  • You don’t brush your teeth regularly or thoroughly
  • You often have a dry mouth
  • Your teeth don’t have enough fluoride
  • You have acid reflux
  • You have an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia

How Do We Fix Dental Cavities?

Cavities in your teeth are usually easily repaired. The most common treatment for cavities is to have a filling. Here, we’ll remove the decayed part of the tooth before filling the hole. 

The material used in a filling depends on which tooth is being repaired. More visible cavities are usually filled with composite resin. When repairing molars, we may use silver. 

A filling procedure is quick and simple, and the recovery is quick. Once the tooth has been filled, it will help prevent further decay and infection. 

In some cases, where there is too much decay, we may use a crown to repair the tooth. 

How Can You Avoid Dental Cavities?

Tooth cavities are easily avoided. Brushing your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste will help remove plaque bacteria and strengthen the enamel. 

Cutting down on sugary food and drinks will also help. If you do indulge in anything sweet, try to brush your teeth soon after. 

A diet rich in calcium and fibre is good for your teeth, as is drinking tap water with added fluoride. 

Protect Your Teeth With Nottingham Smiles

Dental cavities are a common problem that we can help you avoid. Visiting us for regular checkups will help you maintain the health of your teeth. If you have a toothache or are worried that you have a cavity, we can help!

Call us today to arrange your checkup. 



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