What is a cavity?

A cavity is caused by tooth decay.  Decay can happen on all sides of the tooth and within several layers of the tooth. The enamel, also known as the outer coating of the tooth, is just a susceptible to decay as the inner layer of the tooth which is called the dentin.

Decay is caused when foods leave remnants on the tooth surface and are inhabited by bacteria which then convert the foods into acids.  Bacteria, acid, food and saliva combine to form plaque which adheres securely to the teeth. Plaque, over time, will dissolve and destroy enamel and create holes or cavities within the tooth.

Children and adults alike are susceptible to cavities. As you age, your mouth chemistry changes and makes you more likely to get cavities. Gums recede due to age and possibly from gum disease. When the gums pull away, the roots of your teeth are more exposed to plaque and eating high-carbohydrate foods will make you more likely to develop cavities.

Decay around fillings may also be more prevalent in older adults and this may cause a need for more dental work.

Finding cavities is a part of your regular dental checkup. Your dentist will look for cavities and evidence of decay in a variety of ways.  Using a probe, the dentist will check your teeth for soft spots while the use of an X-Ray will allow him to check for the areas between your teeth.

If a cavity has been brewing for a while, you may feel it through a toothache that is more prevalent when you drink something hot, cold or sweet. You may also be able to see small pits or holes in your teeth.

If you suspect a cavity has taken residence in your teeth, be sure to notify Abbootsford Dentists as soon as possible so we can diagnose and correct the condition before it gets worse.