What Happens If a Cavity Is Left Untreated?

man in the dentist's chair getting a cavity treated

Most Americans have had a cavity at some point in their lives. If you think you have developed a cavity, be sure to see us right away or your cavity could turn into a much bigger problem.

What Is a Cavity?

First, let’s discuss what a cavity is. Another term for tooth decay, a cavity occurs when the enamel on your teeth is weakened or destroyed by bacteria and acid. The acid comes from when you eat and drink things that are high in carbohydrates and sugar, such as soda, candy, and chips. The bacteria in your mouth feeds off sugars from these foods and drinks and turns them into acid that weakens enamel. Over time, the acids and bad bacteria in your mouth also buildup to form a sticky film called plaque, which also weakens your tooth enamel. The enamel is your tooth’s first line of defense for decay, so when that is weakened your teeth become more susceptible to decay and cavities. You might notice a cavity forming if you experience any tooth sensitivity, toothache, pain while eating or drinking things cold, hot, or sweet, or pain when you bite down.

What Happens If a Cavity Is Left Untreated?

If you don’t seek immediate treatment for a cavity, you are opening your mouth up to even more severe oral health issues. For example, when a cavity has become pretty bad, you may need a filling or restoration, but if the decay is extensive, you might need a crown. A crown is a custom made replacement tooth that covers your natural tooth and also acts as its replacement for a tooth that is decayed. If the decay has progressed past the enamel and into the pulp of your tooth, you could need a root canal. This will clear out the infection and decay in your tooth and then seal up the canal so your tooth can’t experience decay here again. If the tooth is too far gone to decay to even repair, the tooth might have to be removed.

How Do You Prevent Cavities?

The best way to prevent tooth decay is by practicing good oral health habits every single day at home. You should be brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time you brush, flossing at least once a day, and make sure that you are using fluoride toothpaste. It’s also vital that you eat a healthy diet that’s high in foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and avoid any foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates. It’s also vital for your oral health to come in for regular checkups and cleanings. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment!

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