There was a time, not too long ago when most children grew up in America having many cavities and fillings in their teeth. Thankfully, that trend has been reversed and today’s children will grow into adulthood with far fewer cavities than their parents and grandparents. Teeth have not grown any stronger or harder over the generations to help ward off cavities but advances in dentistry to prevent, detect and correct decay as well as more awareness and diligence of tooth care by people of all ages have made tooth decay less prevalent. Nevertheless, tooth decay can still happen to anyone, even those diligent in trying to prevent it, our Flagstaff dentist, Dr. Benjamin W. Stark, DMD has methods to help prevent cavities and restore teeth that do develop them.
Tooth decay happens when food debris and bacteria settle on or between the teeth forming plaque and tartar. The bacteria in these substances can begin to eat away at the tooth’s protective enamel. Teeth that develop cracks and chips will also allow bacteria to enter the inside of the tooth causing decay and possibly infecting the tooth’s soft inner core, the pulp. When the pulp becomes infected the tooth’s roots maybe ruined. Symptoms of cavities can include pain, anything from a dull ache to sharp pain as well as sensitivity to cold or hot foods and beverages. When cavities occur restorations include drilling out the decay and filling the cavity with a metal amalgam filling or a composite resin filling made of a combination of resin and glass. If the roots are infected an endodontic treatment, root canal, is often used by our Flagstaff dentist to clean out the decayed roots and then a crown is placed on top.
Our Flagstaff dentist stresses prevention as the best means of dealing with the problem of decay. Our practice teaches our patients the best techniques of daily brushing, flossing and the use of dental rinses. Our prevention program includes regular checkups from our doctor to detect problems at an early stage and twice-yearly dental cleanings to clear away the plaque and tartar that brushing can’t. Our doctor also recommends the use of dental sealants to protect the chewing surfaces on back teeth of our younger patients and fluoride treatments to strengthen the enamel of the teeth. Call our office for an appointment to keep your teeth decay free.