Cavities are on the top of the list of most people’s dental concerns. With proper oral hygiene and biannual cleanings and checkups, you stand a good chance of living your life with relatively few cavities, if any at all. They do happen, however, so don’t panic if your Des Moines IA dentist, Dr. Steve Burds tells you that you have one at your next six month checkup. To learn more facts about cavities, try your hand at the following true-or-false quiz.
Q1. True or False: Sugar causes tooth decay.
Q2. True or False: The first sign of a cavity is a toothache.
Q3. True or False: Tooth extraction or loss is the likely outcome of untreated tooth decay.
Q4. True or False: The bacteria that cause cavities are in our mouth from birth.
A1. FALSE – While it’s true that sugar contributes to tooth decay, cavities are actually caused by Streptococcus mutans (AKA S. mutans). This strain of oral bacteria produces lactic acid when it feeds on sucrose. The acid, and more bacteria mix with food debris to create plaque. Eating a whole foods diet with only natural sugars will help, along with good oral hygiene, to keep cavities at bay.
A2. FALSE – Not necessarily, because cavities don’t always exhibit symptoms. If you do have pain or discomfort it generally results from very advanced stages of decay. When the dentin beneath your tooth enamel begins to rot, your nerves become exposed which is what would cause a pain sensation.
A3. TRUE – Fillings suffice for most mild to moderate cavities, but severe and advanced tooth decay can require more invasive procedures, and even extraction. When infection from tooth decay gets into the root of the tooth, a root canal procedure will likely be recommended. This will give your Des Moines, IA dentist the opportunity to cleanse the area and make it bacteria free. Your remaining tooth structure will be given a customized crown to reinforce and seal the area. If there’s too much decay, however, you could end up losing the tooth.
A4. FALSE – We are born with mouths that are bacteria free. S. Mutans are contagious germs. We generally get them from our parents or caregivers when we are very young babies. Kissing, sharing drinks, and blowing on food can transmit the oral bacteria from one person to the other. Pathogens are able to survive in a baby’s mouth even well before their first teeth erupt through the gums.
Fillings and Crowns from Des Moines IA Dentist
If you suffer from tooth decay, a filling or dental crown can strengthen your tooth and restore its function. Contact your 50309 dental office by calling (515) 244-9565. Located in the 50309 area, we proudly welcome patients from Des Moines, River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.