Cavities are the leading cause of dental problems and tooth loss, and they’re also the most common reason people seek help from a dentist. Award-winning dentist Brent C Lin, DDS, in Livermore, California, has the expertise to treat your tooth with a filling if you have one or more cavities. If you have a toothache, sudden pain, or tooth sensitivity you suspect might be a cavity, call Dr. Lin’s Livermore office or schedule an appointment online today.
Cavities are caused by a buildup of plaque on the enamel of your teeth. Plaque is a thin, sticky film that forms from bacteria that converts sugars in the foods you eat into acids. These acids then attack your teeth’s enamel, which is the protective hard outer layer of your teeth.
If plaque isn’t removed regularly, it traps these acids next to the enamel, causing the enamel to break down over time. Cavities form when the enamel develops tiny holes that increase in size and lead to tooth decay. Habits and lifestyle factors that make tooth decay more likely include:
Cavities can also be caused by certain chronic diseases or by taking medications that reduce the amount of saliva you produce.
In the early stages of a cavity, you may not realize anything is wrong with the affected tooth, but the severity of your symptoms can increase over time and you may notice:
If a cavity spreads into the dentin inside your tooth, these symptoms can get worse, and you may see a dark spot on your tooth. If the cavity reaches the sensitive pulp in the center of your tooth, it can cause a good deal of pain. You may also notice an unpleasant taste in your mouth or find you have bad breath.
How Dr. Lin decides to treat your cavity depends on the stage of decay in your tooth. Common procedures performed at his Livermore office include:
Dr. Lin removes the affected part of your tooth and replaces it with a filling made of porcelain, composite resin, silver amalgam, or gold.
If Dr. Lin needs to remove so much of your tooth that it can’t hold a filling, he can restore your tooth using a crown or cap.
If the pulp is affected, Dr. Lin may need to remove it along with the nerve and then seal it with a crown.
Good dental hygiene and regular checkups with Dr. Lin are essential to protect your oral health and prevent cavities. You should:
You can also talk to Dr. Lin about fluoride treatments and dental sealants that can help prevent tooth decay. If you’re in Livermore or the surrounding area, book an appointment online or over the phone with Brent C Lin, DDS today.