We all love a good report from our dentist, but what does it mean when they say you to have to come back for a few cavities?

What is tooth decay?

bitewing xray with no tooth decay

Bitewing x-ray of no tooth decay

Tooth decay is the process of the teeth breaking down. These areas can be easily restored by placing a conservative filling. Being preventative and fixing the decay early is key. Early diagnosis can be achieved by visiting your dental professional for a preventative visit twice a year, called a prophy. During this visit, they complete a professional cleaning, exam, and x-rays. X-rays are needed for the dentist to diagnose between the teeth where you cannot see. Bitewing images are typically updated yearly to check for changes in the enamel of your tooth.

Does tooth decay hurt?

“But it doesn’t hurt”…  Tooth decay shouldn’t hurt if it’s caught early. The larger the tooth decay gets, the more sensitivity or pain you will have. This is because tooth decay is actively growing. The closer it is to the nerve, the more likely you have to have pain, discomfort, or sensitivity before and after your restorative appointment.

Restorative dentistry and why it’s important to fix the decay early:

  • The bigger the restoration, the more likely you will need a full-coverage crown to hold the tooth together structurally, equaling more chair time and cost
  • The larger or deeper the restoration, the more likely you are to need a root canal due to an infected tooth
  • Risk of losing the tooth due to fracture

How can you prevent tooth decay?

  1. Brush 2x daily for two minutes each
  2. Floss every day with floss picks or string
  3. Fluoride products to help strengthen your teeth
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