Cavities and Tooth Decay

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the process of dissolving the tooth’s mineral content and causes a cavity or hole in a tooth. The foods we eat react with the bacteria in our mouth to form acids that can eat away and decay the hard tissue of our teeth. Plaque is the bacteria most responsible for tooth decay.


A cavity, or caries, is a hole in a tooth caused by this decay. If you experience pain when eating something cold or sweet, and the pain goes away fairly quickly, you may have a cavity. If it is a cavity, the sooner you get it taken care of, the less severe the damage will be. A toothache that is not sensitive to cold may have another cause. See Smile 32 Dental Centers for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment for Cavities

Fillings are treatments for simple cavities. Smile 32 Dental Centers will use a drill or dental instrument to remove the decayed tooth tissue, and replace that removed tooth structure with a filling. The filling will be either a metal amalgam or a tooth-colored composite. If the cavity is too large, and too much of the tooth tissue has decayed, your dentist may recommend a dental crown. A tooth with a cavity left untreated, may become infected. This serious condition is called an abscess, which might require a root canal. You will have more options for treatment the sooner you have your tooth examined, the more options your dentist at Smile 32 Dental Centers will have to preserve your natural tooth.

Cavity Prevention

Dental floss and a toothbrush are your best weapons against cavities. Flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day, especially after meals or snacks is the best prevention. Dental floss gets into the crevices between teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. Brushing helps remove the bacteria that forms on teeth called plaque, which is the major cause of tooth decay.

Caring for a Toothache

If there is a problem with your tooth, early treatment is important. We want you to keep as much original tooth structure as possible. A cavity detected early can be filled before the tooth abscesses and needs a root canal. A tooth that is too far damaged and infected may have to be extracted to prevent further damage to the mouth, and extraction is always your dentist’s last resort.