Cavities 101: Why They Form and How to Repair Them

You may know that eating sugary foods can lead to cavities, but have you ever wondered how exactly they’re formed? Here’s everything you should know about cavities, including how they develop, why some are painful and others are not, and how to repair them.

How cavities form

Sugary and starchy foods play an integral role in causing cavities to develop. Every person’s mouth has some bacteria, which when mixed with sugars from food, turns into
plaque. In turn, plaque produces acids that can wear away at the enamel of your teeth and cause cavities to form.

Why Cavities Hurt

So why do some cavities hurt while others don’t? The answer lies in the fact that cavities typically start to form on the tooth surface, which has no nerves. If not treated, the cavity will advance into the deeper layers of the tooth. The closer it comes to the nerves at the centre of the tooth, the more pain you’ll feel.

Repairing Cavities

Depending on how deep the cavity is, your dentist may suggest one of the following treatments.

  • Fluoride treatments. If caught early enough, a cavity might be repaired with a fluoride treatment. Since there are no symptoms of a cavity in its early stages, however, this is rarely the appropriate method to fix the cavity.
  • Dental fillings. Your dentist can treat most cavities by removing the decay and replacing the lost tooth matter with a filling made of a synthetic material.
  • Root canal. If left untreated, the cavity will eventually reach the centre of the tooth and may cause it to become abscessed. If this happens, a root canal treatment is necessary to remove the infected tissue and repair the remaining tooth.

How to Prevent Cavities

A solid oral hygiene routine is the only way to protect your teeth from cavities. Here’s what you should be doing:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day using a fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. 
  • Flossing daily to remove plaque from between your teeth.
  • Visiting your dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkupscheckups.

A trusted North Edmonton dental clinic

Make Northtown Dental Associates part of your oral hygiene routine. Our practice offers a range of services to address the health of our patients. In addition to general dental care, we can provide fluoride treatments, dental fillings, root canals and more. Call us today to make an appointment with our skilled and caring dental team.