If you have a piece of paper handy, make a list of twenty people. They can be any 20 people — people in your family, people you work with, people who are famous.
Now, close your eyes and point to your list. Based on statistics, we could say that is the lucky one who won’t get a cavity. In other words, the other 19 names on your list will have to deal with tooth decay one way or another in their lifetimes.
Knowing this, it’s probably a good idea to have a plan for what you will do if or when you develop a cavity. Our dentists in San Antonio, TX, want to help you prevent cavities for as long as possible, but we are also prepared to help to take care of your tooth decay if the need arises.
Keep Your Teeth Clean
If you hope to be the one in 20 who does not develop a cavity, you must be disciplined about your oral care.
That means eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and following a good oral hygiene routine that follows the recommendations of the American Dental Association.
This means brushing your teeth regularly. Specifically, the ADA suggests brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time. This gives you plenty of time to scrub your teeth (not too hard) on all sides. You should use a pea-sized squeeze of toothpaste with fluoride and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
This also means flossing daily. Brushing your teeth will remove a lot of plaque and bacteria from your mouth, but it’s not as effective at cleaning between your teeth and below your gumline. Using dental floss or other interdental cleaners (e.g. flossers or water flossers) is necessary if you want your mouth to be as healthy as possible.
Last but not least, this means getting regular dental cleanings and exams at your family dentist office.
During your visits to Cosmetic Dental Associates, one of our professionals will remove any tartar or plaque from your teeth. This can go a long way toward helping you prevent tooth decay and cavities.
The exam is equally important because it is when we look for signs that decay may have started. The sooner we spot a problem, the sooner we can work with you to take care of it.
When Will You Want To Take Care Of Tooth Decay?
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that you are among the 19 in 20 people who will develop a cavity at some point. When do you think you will want to fix it?
➤ As soon as possible
By making regular trips to the dentist, you give yourself a better opportunity to catch the decay early. Dental fillings are the preferred way to deal with this.
At our office, we offer tooth-colored fillings. After removing the decay, we can fill the cavity with a composite resin that matches the natural color of your teeth. After this hardens and is polished, you won’t be able to tell where the filling ends and your real tooth begins.
➤ As soon as it’s noticeable to other people
Keep in mind that this may happen before you realize other people have noticed that you have a cavity. The problem with this approach is that it means the decay is eating away at more of your tooth.
If you take too long, a filling may not be enough to restore the function and the appearance of the tooth. In that case, a dental crown may be in order. Modern dental crowns look and work as well as natural teeth, but needing a crown is a clue that your cavity has gotten fairly big.
➤ As soon as it’s painful
Unfortunately, more people do this than necessary. Bacteria will keep eating into your tooth as long as they can. When they reach the pulp (a soft connective tissue inside your tooth), the situation can change quickly.
The pain that comes from having an infected tooth is often why people finally come to the dentist. This is also the reason you may need a root canal to remove the infection.
Be Proactive About Tooth Decay
Preventive care is always the best approach to protecting your teeth from decay. When that isn’t enough, you should call 210-951-4444 or use our online form to set up an appointment with Cosmetic Dental Associates as soon as possible if you live in or near San Antonio, TX.