If you’ve been struggling with dental pain or get shooting pains when you sip on a coffee or bite into an ice cream, you may have tooth decay. Decay is a very common dental disease that causes holes called cavities to develop in the outer layers of the teeth. Thankfully, if you do have decay, we have treatments available to ease your pain, prevent further damage and restore your teeth.
Causes of tooth decay
Tooth decay is caused by plaque acids released by bacteria in your mouth when they feed. These bacteria are present in plaque, the sticky white film you can sometimes feel on your teeth when you wake up. Plaque acids erode the enamel, the tooth’s protective layer, and they eventually cause holes to develop. Once the enamel has been penetrated, there is a higher risk of infection spreading throughout the tooth.
Common signs of tooth decay
The most common signs of tooth decay include increased sensitivity, toothache and a feeling of weakness in the tooth. Sometimes it also possible to feel a cavity when you run your tongue over the surface of your tooth.
Treating tooth decay
The most common treatment option for a cavity is a filling. Fillings literally fill in the cavity and they help to make the tooth stronger and improve tooth function. Before a filling is placed, the cavity is cleaned and any decayed tissue is removed, which also helps to prevent infection from spreading.
We use natural-looking white fillings to restore the teeth without detracting from the beautiful aesthetic of your smile. These fillings, which are made from dental composite and resins, match the shade of your tooth perfectly, so you won’t be able to tell the difference between the filling and the rest of your tooth. White fillings are an increasingly popular alternative to mercury amalgam fillings, which are clearly visible when you open your mouth. Having a filling is nothing to worry about as your tooth will be numbed before the cavity is cleared and the filling placed. Typically, treatment takes around 30-60 minutes and you can head home straight afterwards.
Preventing tooth decay
Prevention is always better than cure and following these simple steps can help to keep your teeth cavity-free:
- keep up to date with dental checks
- see your dentist if you have dental pain or your teeth have become very sensitive
- brush your teeth twice a day, every day
- use fluoride toothpaste
- moderate your intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks
- wait 45-60 minutes after eating to brush your teeth and try to stick to three meals a day, rather than snacking