How Even Small Cavities Can Lead to Tooth Loss

Cavities and Tooth Loss - Charleston, SC

Sep 11, 2016 — by John Rink DDS
Tags: Tooth Decay Missing Teeth

How cavities can affect a tooth's structureCavities are a common problem, and in many cases they are a quick fix. What many people don't realize, though, is that cavities can lead to more serious dental problems. We've seen this happen a fair amount at the Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry. Years of neglect and wear and tear may require advanced and intensive restorative dentistry treatment.

Let's take a look at the dangers of cavities and how they can have a negative impact on the health and appearance of your smile.

Minor Cavities Can Lead to Major Problems

While small cavities may not seem like a major issue, they can lead to plenty of serious dental health problems if people aren't careful. Tooth decay needs to be treated as soon as possible to minimize the damage that can be done to your smile. Unfortunately, cavities may go untreated for a variety of reasons. This can result in tooth loss if people aren't careful.

Weakened Teeth

Cavities damage the structure of your tooth, eating through the enamel and affecting the underlying dentin. If a cavity is allowed to grow and goes untreated, your tooth may be severely weak and more prone to breaking and even falling out.

Greater Risk of Root Canal Infection

Inside of each tooth is a hollow chamber filled with a small bundle of soft tissue called dental pulp. The dental pulp is made up of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that was essential for the formation and maturation of a tooth.

With serious tooth decay, it is possible for oral bacteria to access this dental pulp, resulting in a root canal infection. These can be very painful. If the root canal infection cannot be treated in a timely manner, it may be necessary to extract a tooth to prevent the spread of infection to other structures of the mouth.

Potential Issues with Gum Disease

Tooth decay is caused by the same oral bacteria that causes gum disease. It's not uncommon for serious issues with tooth decay to be accompanied by gum disease. This is especially true when poor oral hygiene and general dental care neglect are involved. In later stages of gum disease (periodontitis and advanced periodontitis), it's possible for patients to lose teeth.

Treatments for Cavities and Tooth Decay

Thankfully there are plenty of effective treatments for tooth decay in various stages. For minor tooth decay, dental fillings may be ideal. Inlays, onlays, and crowns may be considered for more advanced stages of tooth decay as they occur. The ideal restoration option for you and your needs can be discussed in greater detail during the consultation process.

Tips for Cavity Prevention

To prevent cavities, consider the following oral hygiene tips:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day (ideally after every meal)
  • Avoid snacking on sugary junk foods
  • Avoid drinking too much fruit juice and soda
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups

Discuss Tooth Decay and Preventative Care

For more information about preventing tooth loss and improving overall dental health and wellness, be sure to contact the Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry today. Our team looks forward to your visit and helping you enhance your overall dental health and wellness.

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