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Dental Cavities

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Dental cavities are a common complaint for the majority of the people. It is caused by bacteria living in plaque formed on teeth. This article will prove to be a useful guide for those looking for information on dental cavities.

What are Dental Cavities?

Dental cavities are medically called as dental caries. It is a dental disease that leads to tooth decay.

Symptoms of Dental Cavities

Symptoms of dental cavities depend on the type and severity of the decay. Small cavities are hard to spot. It is only when a cavity grows larger, one experiences the following symptoms:

  • Toothache
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold drinks or food and sweet products
  • Pain when trying to bite
  • Visible black spots or hole in teeth

Causes of Dental Cavities

A hard mineral substance called asenamel covers each and every tooth. This hard substance can break down by the constant action of acid. This acid is produced by bacteria that lives in the plaque formed on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that forms on the teeth constantly. Every time one eats or drinks anything that contains sugars and starches, the bacteria living in the plaque produces acid. These bacteria include Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus acidophilus. The acid attacks the plaque constantly leading to loss of enamel. This process is called as demineralization.

The most common places where cavities occur include between teeth, cracks, pits, around dental fillings or bridgework, grooves in the back teeth or near the gum line. The acid starts seeping into the pores of the enamel. The acid gradually reaches the dentin, the deepest layer of the teeth. When dentin breaks down, it leads collapse of the tooth enamel. Thus, leading to the formation of dental cavities.

Diagnosis for Dental Cavities

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Dental cavities are diagnosed by examination of the mouth and teeth by the dentist. He may ask for an X-ray to find the extent of decay.

How To Treat Symptoms of Dental Cavities?

Treatment for dental cavities is quite simple in most cases. One can relieve symptoms by the following treatment:

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride is an important mineral in teeth. Thus, for treatment of minor cavities or prevent further damage, one is asked to use toothpaste, mouthwash, gels, varnish, etc. containing fluoride.


The dentist may drill through the tooth and remove the decayed portion. Then, fill up the hole with fillings. These fillings are made of different materials that includes porcelain, metal like gold or silver.


When a large amount of tooth is removed due to caries, one needs to be fitted with a crown. Each crown is custom made and used to cover the surface of the tooth.

Root Canals

If the decay has reached deep within the tooth, that is dentin, it requires a root canal. In this procedure, the dentist removes the damaged nerve within the tooth and fills it up with a filling.


Removal of a tooth becomes very necessary when the tooth is totally decayed.

Prevention of Dental Cavities

Dental cavities can be prevented. Dental care is very important to prevent caries. In order to prevent cavities, one should:

  • Regularly brush with fluorinated toothpaste
  • Brush teeth twice a day, morning and before going to bed
  • Floss between teeth to get rid of any food particle stuck and prevent plaque formation
  • Avoid sugary, sticky foods and eating or snacking between meals

This is all about dental cavities. Maintain good dental care to prevent this common dental disease from plaguing you.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: March 24, 2015

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