Dr. Chris J. Devlin teaches patients about tooth decay in his State College dental practice. Learn how a cavity develops and what you can do to prevent this troubling oral health issue.
How Does Tooth Decay Happen?
The American Academy of General Dentistry states that tooth decay affects almost all people at one time or another. Basically, a cavity is a hole in your tooth enamel – the hard, outermost layer of your tooth. Left alone, tooth decay progresses deeper inside the tooth into the dentin and even to the inner pulp which contains the nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue.
Acids created by oral bacteria begin the decay process as they feed on the processed sugars and starches in our diets. Food residues form plaque and gradually harden into tartar on and between teeth which causes smile problems. When the bacteria in plaque and tartar corrode your tooth enamel, cavities forms.
How Can I Prevent Cavities?
Your State College dentist recommends preventive oral care to fight off tooth decay. He recommends you do the following to keep your smile cavity-free:
- Oral examinations every six months
- Digital X-rays when necessary
- Hygienic cleanings to remove plaque and tartar and to polish teeth
During a six-month examination, Dr. Devlin will inspect your mouth for signs of decay and gum disease. Also, he will also check the condition of existing restorations–fillings, crowns and so on– because it’s common for tooth decay to continue in already compromised areas. He’ll also inspect your alignment, because crooked teeth can encourage decay because crooked teeth are harder to keep clean.
Additionally, the doctor may use dental sealants or fluoride treatments on the molars that are located in the back of your mouth. Sealants protect deeply grooved teeth against decay, and fluoride helps to re-mineralize tooth enamel early on in decay process.
What Can I Do At Home To Keep My Smile Cavity Free?
Follow the tips below from our team to keep your grin healthy:
- Brush twice a day with a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste
- Floss once a day between and around teeth using the flossing product of your choice
- Rinse with plenty of water and keep well hydrated during the day
Patient should also eat a low-carb, high-fiber diet, wear a mouthguard when playing sports and use a nightguard if teeth clenching while you’re asleep is a problem.
How Will You Treat My Cavity?
Dr. Devlin uses a tooth-colored filling material made of composite resin. Bonded directly to tooth structure for a durable restoration, composite resin looks natural and has none of the safety concerns of amalgam fillings.
Additionally, the doctor uses porcelain crowns or root canal therapy as needed to restore teeth with advanced decay, abscess or injury. Unfortunately, sometimes teeth cannot be saved. So, Dr. Devlin offers crown and bridge, traditional dentures, dental implants and implant-supported bridges and dentures to restore smiles to full function and aesthetics.
You Can Fight Decay, Too!
Contact Chris J. Devlin DMD to schedule your routine exam. You can prevent cavities, gum disease and other oral health problems and have a healthy smile your entire life.