Cavities are never fun, but being told you have your first cavity can feel like a big deal! Let’s talk about what happens next so you can move forward feeling confident and calm throughout the process.
What Does a Cavity Look Like?
Your dentist may diagnose a cavity during an exam or by looking at x-rays of your teeth. Sometimes cavities are easily visible on the surface of the tooth, but if they are small or if most of the decay is happening beneath the surface, they can be hard to spot without the specialized tools in your dentist’s office such as an x-ray machine.
A cavity is a small hole in the enamel or hard outermost layer of your tooth. If the hole is visible on the surface, it may look like a very tiny dark spot. If this is your first cavity, don’t be surprised if you can’t see it when looking at your tooth. You can ask your dentist to show you x-rays of the issue so that it’s easier to see.
What Causes a Cavity?
Cavities typically occur when a tooth is exposed to bacteria-containing plaque for an extended period of time. This can happen if plaque has an opportunity to build up between brushings or if difficult-to-clean areas, such as between your teeth, aren’t reached. It can also happen if there is high sugar intake because sugar helps to feed the naturally-occurring bacteria in your mouth.
This is why regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings are so important! They all work to fight cavities by helping to stop them before they start to form.
What Happens Next?
If you’ve been diagnosed with a cavity, the most important thing to do is to see a dentist right away. Your cavity should be treated as soon as possible to prevent further complications or more serious issues from developing. Your dentist will likely recommend that the cavity be filled. This is a common procedure where your dentist uses special tools to clean out the cavity and then fills it to seal it from further decay or damage.
If this is your first cavity, it’s normal to feel nervous! Tell your dentist if you’re feeling anxious. They will be happy to answer any questions you have about the procedure to help you feel comfortable and informed every step of the way.
Call our Maricopa Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.