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Cavities are areas of decay on your tooth’s surface. They form when bacteria and acids in the mouth gradually erode the enamel, which is the protective layer of our teeth. Cavities start as small holes and can grow larger over time if left untreated—but good news! Your Aspen Dental team can help.

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Healthy tooth vs tooth with cavity.

What are cavities?

Cavities are common and happen to most of us in our lifetime. They occur when the hard outer layer of the tooth (enamel) gets damaged and form small holes or openings. Factors like bacteria, sugary and acidic foods and drinks, poor oral hygiene and not using fluoride can all cause cavities.

Plaque is the main culprit of cavities. It’s a sticky film of bacteria that accumulates on your teeth. The bacteria in the plaque feed on sugars from the foods we eat and produce acids that attack the enamel, causing demineralization. Prolonged exposure to the acids weakens the enamel, causing it to break down and form cavities.

What causes cavities?

The most common cause of cavities is poor dental hygiene and a high-sugar, high-starch diet. When food particles and bacteria are not removed, plaque forms on your teeth. Plaque acids gradually dissolve the tooth’s enamel, leading to cavity formation.

Dry mouth, certain medications and a genetic predisposition can also increase your risk of cavities.

Cavity Symptoms: sensitivity to hot and cold, pain when eating or drinking, discomfort when biting, visible holes in your tooth.

Cavity symptoms

By learning cavity symptoms, you can catch them early and quickly get treatment at your local Aspen Dental before they get bigger.

Does it hurt to eat sweet or acidic foods? A cavity may be the cause. Be on the lookout for other symptoms like these.

Different types of cavities

Not all cavities are alike—in fact, they can form on any part of your tooth. Discover the most common types of cavities and where they might appear: 

These are the most common type of cavities, forming on the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. They develop in the small pits and fissures of the tooth’s surface where food particles and bacteria can easily get trapped.

These cavities form on the flat, smooth surfaces of the teeth in areas where bacterial plaque collects, such as between teeth, along the gum line, and in difficult-to-clean areas.They progress more slowly than pit and fissure cavities and are often easier to detect and treat in their early stages.

Root cavities form on the roots of the teeth. They are common in older adults or if you have gum recession. As the root surface becomes exposed, it becomes susceptible to decay, especially near the gumline. 

These cavities develop around previous dental work, such as fillings or crowns. Bacteria can find its way inside the restoration, causing decay in the remaining part of the tooth. 

Unlike typical cavities caused by bacteria, erosion cavities are caused by direct chemical erosion of the tooth enamel by acidic foods, sugary drinks or stomach acids from conditions like acid reflux. 

This type of cavity affects infants and young children due to prolonged exposure of sugary liquids like milk, formula or fruit juices in baby bottles or sippy cups.

How to get rid of cavities

It’s important to contact us if you are experiencing symptoms of a cavity.
Your local Aspen Dental dentist can determine the best course of treatment based on the extent of the cavity. Your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and restore your tooth with the right dental materials for you.

Some of the techniques your dentist may use include:

Dental fillings

Dental fillings are a common treatment option for cavities. Your Aspen Dental dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and fill it with a durable, natural-looking material, such as composite resin. Once your tooth is filled, its shape, function and strength will be restored.  

Dental crowns

If the cavity has significantly damaged your tooth, you may need a dental crown. A crown is a custom-made cap that covers the entire visible portion of the tooth. It protects, restores strength and improves your tooth’s appearance. 

Root canal therapy

When tooth decay reaches the innermost layer, known as the dental pulp, it can cause severe pain and infection. You’ll require root canal therapy to remove the infected pulp, clean the root canal and seal it. The procedure will relieve any pain you may be experiencing, and your Aspen Dental dentist will discuss the best options to restore and protect your tooth from further damage.

How to get prevent cavities

A thorough oral care routine is the best way to prevent cavities. 

Oral hygiene

Balanced diet

Fluoride treatment

Regular dental checkups 

Cavities FAQs

Your cavity may not hurt in the beginning. However, as tooth decay progresses deeper into the layers of the tooth, you may begin to experience toothaches and sensitivity. 

Yes, you can get cavities between your teeth. They are known as “interproximal cavities” or “interdental 
cavities and occur when food gets caught in between your teeth and you don't floss regularly.

Yes, you can prevent cavities even if you have braces. Maintaining good oral hygiene is even more crucial when you have braces, as they create additional spaces for food particles and plaque to accumulate, increasing the risk of cavities and other dental issues. 

No, you cannot catch a cavity from someone else. Cavities are caused by a combination of factors, primarily the presence of certain bacteria in the mouth, a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates, poor oral hygiene and genetic predisposition. 

Yes, there are toothpaste and mouthwash products specifically designed to help prevent cavities. Ask your Aspen Dental dentist which products they recommend. 

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Take charge of your oral health 

You can prevent cavities and protect your smile by keeping up with your oral hygiene routine and regular visits to your Aspen Dental dentist for cleanings and checkups.

Your team of experienced dentists provide top-quality care and offer cavity prevention strategies and treatment options—especially when caught in the early the stages.

Schedule an appointment today and help keep your smile healthy and beautiful.

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