Cavities, also called dental caries, are one of the most common dental problems experienced by people of all ages. A cavity is a hole or opening in the enamel or hard outer shell of a tooth caused by tooth decay.
Left untreated, a cavity will continue to cause decay within the tooth, eventually resulting in an infection deep within the root of the tooth. If this occurs, a root canal may be needed. Cavity prevention and treatment through general dentistry services are critical for maintaining the health and aesthetics of your smile.
The Best Way to Prevent Cavities: Visiting Your Houston Dentist
Ideally, you can prevent cavities before they start with simple proactive dentist treatments.
Good Brushing and Flossing Habits
Good brushing and flossing habits at home are the best way to prevent cavities from developing. Our team recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for no less than two minutes each time. Flossing should be done once per day, ideally after your last meal before going to bed.
Cleanings at the Dentist
Regular teeth cleanings should be used as a supplement to brushing and flossing at home to keep teeth clean and gums clean. Dental cleanings also prevent cavities from forming. Dental hygienists use special tools to remove hardened plaque from between the teeth that cannot be removed by a toothbrush or even floss.
We recommend having your teeth cleaned every 6 months unless your dentist has instructed otherwise.
Dental sealants are a thin, hard resin coating that provides a protective barrier between a patient’s teeth and bacteria that accumulates in the mouth from food, saliva, and acids. Dental sealants can be used by both pediatric and adult patients to protect against the formation of tooth decay. However, children are the primary recipients of sealant services. The CDC suggests that school-age children without dental sealants are three (3) times as likely to experience the decay of their first molars than children who have had dental sealants applied to their back teeth. A professional pediatric dentist will be able to provide this service for your child to protect their teeth.
Typically, sealants will last around five years. However, many adults who come into our office still have sealants on their teeth that were applied when they were children.
Cavity Treatments at Lovett Dental North Heights
Without adequate prevention, cavities can quickly develop, especially in children.
Symptoms of cavities include:
- Tooth pain: A mild or severe toothache is one of the first signs of tooth decay, especially if you eat or drink something hot, cold, or sweet.
- A sensation of pressure: If you have a cavity and bite down on something hard, you may feel pain or pressure inside your tooth rather than on just the surface of it.
- Discoloration of a tooth: Brown, black, or dark staining on the surface of a tooth may indicate a cavity inside.
- A noticeable hole or pit in a tooth: Severe cavities may be visible on a tooth as a small pit or a hole on the tooth’s surface. This happens most commonly on the top or sides that touch other teeth.
Get a Cavity Filled
There are two types of dental fillings: amalgam (metal) and composite resin (white fillings). We generally prefer to use composite resin whenever possible to avoid potential side effects of amalgam materials in the mouth. Resin fillings are also better suited for cavities in the front of the mouth because they are tooth-colored and nearly impossible to detect by anyone other than your dentist or dental hygienist.
Book Your Appointment at Lovett Dental Today
At Lovett Dental, we believe in the importance of quality dental care for both children and adults. We offer a wide variety of dental services to fit the unique needs of our patients, including dental sealants and fillings for the prevention and treatment of dental caries. To book your dental exam, contact Lovett Dental North Heights today at 832.626.2153.