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The low-down on cavities from a general family dentistry practice in Michigan


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Cavities are little problems that can affect a person of any age. Damage from cavities can occur on any part of the tooth, including the hard coating of enamel, the soft inner dentin, and also the innermost living part, where nerves lie.

The real cause of cavities

Many people finger sugar as the culprit of cavities. This makes sense because dentists consistently encourage patients to avoid sugary foods and beverages. In fact, sugar is merely the fuel for the fire of bacteria. Millions of microorganisms are alive and well in the mouth at all times. Some forms of bacteria pose a threat to healthy teeth and gums. These types are fed by sugary, starchy foods, producing an acidic substance that stays on teeth if not removed by brushing. The acid eats teeth slowly, leading to cavities.

Diminishing damage through early detection

We encourage patients of all ages to visit us at least every six months for dental check-ups and cleanings. In instances where there seems to be an increased risk for cavities or gum disease, we may recommend more frequent appointments. During regular dental examinations, we may perform digital x-rays, imaging with our intra-oral camera, and detection with the DIAGNOdent laser detection device. Our goal is to find cavities in their earliest stages, when they can be treated most conservatively.

Early detection of cavities cannot be over-emphasized. As cavities form, bacteria collect in the area, continuing to weaken tooth structure bit by bit. Preserving the greatest amount of natural structure is our priority, as this is how your teeth remain strong and functional. Small cavities in enamel can often be repaired quickly, without the use of even local anesthetic!

Should small cavities go undetected, which happens when regular visits aren't maintained, damage spreads into the depths of the tooth. Treatment goes from a simple repair to a larger process once the inner area of the tooth has become damaged. Moreover, at this point, you are likely in pain. More tooth structure must be removed, weakening the tooth structure further and requiring greater restoration.

Extensive damage from a cavity can occur when treatment is not obtained. Past the dentin lies the pulp chamber, which eventually becomes affected by bacterial activity. At this point, a severe toothache may have developed, as the living portion of the tooth has a full-blown infection. Once the pulp chamber of a tooth has been damaged, the only way to eliminate discomfort and restore structure is to perform root canal therapy and place a dental crown. Without such treatment, the tooth may be lost, and infection can spread.

Our general family dentistry practice in Michigan is equipped with the latest technology to complement our years of experience in creating healthy, beautiful smiles. Contact us today to schedule your visit with Dr. Bernstein.


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