Dentist in Hillsboro Explains Tooth Decay and Cavities
February 23, 2017
Did you know that 20 percent of children from the age of 5 to 11 have had at least one decayed tooth? The same goes for 13 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted that by the age of 15, about 60 percent of all adolescents will have had a cavity. Although cavities are generally preventable, the CDC states that they’re the “most common chronic disease of children.” By visiting your dentist in Hillsboro routinely, whether it be either Dr. Brandon or Malinda Kearbey, you can work towards preventing your child from becoming a statistic.
What is a cavity?
Dental caries (the technical term for cavities), are caused by a breakdown of the tooth enamel. This breakdown is the result of dangerous bacteria buildup. You accrue harmful bacteria by consuming sugary or acidic foods and not practicing proper preventive care. Either one of these factors—especially a combination of the two—will cause the breakdown of your tooth enamel. Acidic foods remove important minerals from the enamel as well. If left untreated it can cause a cavity, or weak spot in your tooth. Decay begins in the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel). As enamel breaks down, the decay descends deeper into the dentin (inner layer). Eventually it will reach the nerve endings of the tooth, which can be extremely painful.
How do I know if I have a cavity?
During your regular dental exam, your dentist will always look for signs of tooth decay and cavities. You may notice these signs of tooth decay yourself:
- Dark spots on your teeth
- Bad breath
If you are feeling sensitivity after you eat or drink something sweet, salty, hot, or cold call our office. Dr. Brandon and Malinda Kearbey can find cavities by gently checking your teeth, looking for soft spots. Cases of tooth decay in Hillsboro can be detected by also using a dental x-ray to examine between teeth.
How can The Dentists at Orenco Station help me?
The key to avoiding dental caries is prevention! Visiting your dentist for semi-annual dental exams is a great start to preventive care. During your exams, your dentist can spot signs of decay early on, before it reaches the state of a severe cavity. Also, you will receive a deep cleaning of your teeth and gums with a special fluoride toothpaste and rinses. Dangerous bacteria and plaque hidden between tight crevices of your teeth are removed, while at the same time adding a protective layer to aid your tooth’s enamel. Your dentist will also provide vital information on how to care for your teeth at home, recommending brushing twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing.
Thinking you already have a cavity? No worries, treatment options are available. The type of treatment depends on how bad the cavity is. Most often, one of our dentists will remove the decayed portion of your tooth, then fill in the hole. These fillings are made from either silver alloy, gold, porcelain, or a composite resin. Some are a great cosmetic option because they match teeth perfectly, making it look as though you never had a cavity in the first place!
Next time your children are at the park enjoying ice cream and they complain about a slight toothache, keep our office in mind! By visiting us, we can educate you and your family about preventive dental care. Remember treatment options are always available to get your oral health back on track! Give us a call today to set up your first appointment.
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