Cavities (also known as tooth decay and dental caries) imply destruction of the tooth enamel and forming of a small hole of dark-brown or black color. It’s commonly believed that cavities are caused by bacterial plaque in your mouth. Bacteria become especially dangerous to the food enamel because of increased amount of acid they produce. And the amount of acids, in its turn, basically depends on the daily diet, especially if a person consumes a lot of sweets and acid food or drinks and doesn’t pay enough attention to mouth hygiene.
Tooth decay is treated nowadays, but as we all know — better to prevent than to cure. We strongly recommend visiting your dentist twice a year and taking general care of your teeth health at least two times a day to be able to reverse cavity development at its early stage.
Photo 1. How to use dental floss.
In the other article we covered the topic that preventive measures, right nutrition and proper mouth care (not necessarily with special manufactured means, read about Cavity treatment at home).
If you have faced tooth decay — it doesn’t always mean you have poor eating habits and poor mouth hygiene. The reason may be in damaged balance between calcium and phosphorous that leads to weakened bones and bone-like structures (including teeth). It may happen due to stress or due to intense demineralization because of some other medical conditions. So if you have never had cavities before (or at least haven’t had them for a long time) and suddenly you found a cavity (or even some) — consult the physician, because the reason might be serious and require treatment.
Photo 2. Bacteria is the cause of caries development.
Front teeth are not likely to be the most popular place for cavities forming. There are some sites in the mouth that collect more plaque than others: places with insufficient saliva presence, like molars and premolars, gingiva of the back teeth and so on. But as far as anterior teeth are concerned, usually they are easy to clean and floss, so if a problem occurred - the cavity can be found in between the front teeth, as this space is quite difficult to clean properly. Nevertheless, tooth decay can be found closer to the tooth root. It means that that part was demineralized, thus it can be a caused by improper nutrition or other diseases that hit the natural health balance and mineral balance in particular.
Actually, caries is an extremely widespread problem: WHO reports about more than 96 percent of population ever faced with dental caries. To the risk group belong children, teenagers and elderly people. Keep in mind, that if not treated timely, a cavity may lead to severe pain, tooth loss and lots of unpleasant consequences.
Primary cavity diagnosis implies naked-eye inspection of all available tooth surfaces in a good light and with the use of special dental mirror and explorer. Large dental caries are often apparent to the naked eye, but smaller lesions and cavities between teeth can be extremely difficult to find and diagnose. Dentist use visual and tactile inspection methods more often. But in case of caries without cavity the diagnosis is even less complicated: dentists use air blow stream at the suspect part of the tooth. Air removes liquids and changes optical properties of the demineralized enamel (it is usually not glossy, but a bit matte).
Photo 3. Children, adolescents and the elderly at risk..
Sometimes it can be about hidden caries. How does this happen? Bacteria and its acids penetrate the enamel and go directly to the dentin. But keep in mind that our teeth have an ability to remineralize when we eat right foods, take supplements and minerals. Such caries starts building up from the inside, but isn’t visible during the ordinarty dentist examination.
Front teeth decay can be difficult to notice in case the stain (or the cavity) usually appears between the teeth. There are cases, when it is impossible to diagnose tooth decay with a naked eye or with a special instrument (called “explorer” that is usually used to determine if there are pits or areas of damage, in this case the enamel will be apparently weakened).
Photo 4. Hidden caries.
The presentation of caries can be extremely variable. However, the main risk factors and general stages of cavity development are similar. Front teeth caries may start as a small chalky-white area (smooth surface caries) and can later develop into a serious problem. Sometimes cavities are visible with the naked eye. But to detect the front teeth caries between the teeth dental X-ray procedure is used. It is also a great method of caries identification, because it lets dentist understand the extent of destruction. Dentists usually prescribe it, when they suspect hidden cavity.
Another modern method of anterior teeth cavity detection is laser diagnosis. Lasers for diagnosing tooth decay allow doing it free of ionizing radiation and are now used in modern dentist clinics to detect interproximal decay (between the teeth).
So if you suspect front tooth decay — make an appointment to your dentist to know for sure.