According to a report published by the National Center for Health Statistics, as much as 91% of the adults aged 20 to 64 in the United States had dental issues and by the time they hit 65, about 96% of Americans experience tooth decay. As tooth decay damages your teeth, it leads to cavities.
Tooth decay not only affects the enamel (the outer coating of the tooth) but also the dentin (the inner layer). For those of you that do not know what causes decay, it is when foods that are carbohydrates such as candy, cake, fruit, soda, milk, cereal, or bread remain in the teeth.
The bacteria in the mouth turn to acid. This bacterium combines with saliva, food debris, and acid to form plaque that clings onto your teeth. The acid produced by plaque dissolves the enamel and creates holes known as cavities.
So What Is A Cavity And Who Gets It?
Most people think that a cavity occurs when a person eats too much sugary items such as kids. However, as mentioned above, whenever carbohydrates get stuck in our teeth, it creates acid which combines with other elements in our mouth to create plaque.
A cavity is a hole that is created when plaque remains is not removed for quite some time. The acid produced by the plaque is what causes cavities. Cavities are an adult problem just as much a children's problem. As we grow older, our gums start to pull away from the teeth.
It is also possible for them to pull away due to gum disease. This causes the roots of our teeth to be exposed to plaque. But, if you eat a ton of high-carb or sugary foods, you are a lot more likely to suffer from cavities.
It is common for older adults to experience decay around their fillings. Since these fillings start to weaken as we age, bacteria start gathering around the gaps and cause decay.
How Can You Know If You Have A Cavity?
When you go for a regular dental check-up, the dentist would notice if you have cavities. The dentist may get an X-ray, look for soft spots, or probe the teeth. Anyone that has a cavity for quite some time might also get a toothache.
A toothache is more normally experienced when you eat or drink something too cold, hot, or sweet. If you take too long to notice a cavity, you would also see holes or pits in the teeth.
Is It Possible To Treat A Cavity And How?
When it comes to the treatment of a cavity, it all depends on how bad it is. It is common for the dentist to remove the decayed part of the teeth using a drill. Then, the hole would be filled with composite resin, porcelain, gold, or silver alloy.
Each of these materials is safe. Although people have concerns over mercury-based fillings or amalgams as they are normally called, the American Dental Association finds them to be safe since it is rare to experience an allergy.
What Are Composite Fillings And Can They Help?
Different materials are used for filling the teeth depending on the dentist’s decision about direct fillings or indirect fillings. But, the decision is mostly based on aesthetic preferences, insurance, and cost.
The materials vary in color and strength. Composite and amalgam are the two most popular types of filings. Composite fillings are also called filled resins or composites.
They feature a combination of quartz or glass filler. A great thing about composite fillings is that they can match the original color of the tooth. Composite fillings tend to be quite durable and are suitable for small scale restorations.
Amalgam fillings on the other hand have been used for over a century by dental professionals. It uses the most-research material. These fillings are relatively strong and perfect for filling cavities that are located at the back of your mouth.
However, amalgam fillings are noticeable as they are made from a combination of metallic elements. But, they are a lot more affordable.
Composite fillings help withstand pressure from chewing and are commonly used on front and back teeth. They offer a much more natural look. Keep in mind that composite fillings are more expensive. For the composite filing to be made, the tooth has to be first clean and dry.
We live in a society that is obsessed with looks. Composite fillings are the best option if you have a cavity. They offer durability and are more aesthetically pleasing.