Cavities, also known as caries, are a result of the progression of tooth decay, and can be identified as small openings or holes in the tooth. Cavities appear as black or brown spots on your teeth, however, not all cavities are visible to the naked eye, some may only be visible under X-ray. This is why it is important to address your dentist whenever you have a toothache, tooth sensitivity or notice white, black or brown spots on your teeth. Cavities caught early can be reversed, while cavities that have reached the pulp of the teeth may be irreversible and need to undergo treatment. How are cavities cured and how can you prevent them from forming?
Depending on the severity of your cavities, there are several treatment options available:
Fluoride treatment for early stages of cavities
Fluoride can help your teeth to re-mineralise, and due to its bacteriostatic properties, it will neutralise acids produced by bacteria. Fluoride treatments are available in gel, foam or liquid solution form, and the treatment is carried out by your dentist. The fluoride content of these substances have a higher ppm of fluoride than toothpastes and mouthwash available on the market.
Filling, crown, root canal, tooth extraction
Fillings are used when cavities have progressed further into the enamel, and the process is no longer reversible. With the help of a drill, your dentist removes the cavity and fills the hole with a tooth-coloured material.
When tooth decay has become too extensive, the decayed portion of the tooth will be removed by your dentist and he will take a mold of your teeth. This mold is then filled with a tooth-coloured substance to replace the decayed tooth.
If the cavities have reached the pulp of your tooth and caused inflammation or infection in the chambers and canals inside the tooth, then you will have to undergo a root canal. A root canal involves removing the infected pulp and disinfecting the inside of the tooth. The tooth is then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material.
When the entire tooth is badly damaged and can no longer be saved with other treatment methods, it has to be extracted. The extracted tooth can be replaced with a dental implant or a bridge.
Preventing tooth cavities
To avoid dental caries in the future, make sure you follow these recommendations:
- Prevent the build-up of cavity causing bacteria by brushing your teeth with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride can strengthen your teeth, making them more resistant to the effects of acids that cause cavities.
- Flossing regularly or using interdental brushes help remove food particles that are trapped between your teeth.
- Use a mouthwash to kill bacteria and remove plaque. For best results, use it after meals to prevent bacteria from producing acids that are responsible for causing cavities.
- Avoid acidic and sugary foods.
- Eat foods with high calcium and vitamin D content.
Curing cavities with natural remedies will be to no avail once tooth decay has progressed into an irreversible state. At best, natural remedies can only prevent further tooth decay, but it will not cure cavities.