Dental Cavities

Tooth Decay

Did you know cavities is the #1 disease that has children missing school? Most people have had cavities at some point in their lives. The reason for the occurrence of cavities is not at all that mysterious. Not brushing and flossing your teeth are the primary reasons why you get it. Not going to the dentist every six months is another. Oftentimes, individuals do not give much importance to visiting their dentists. Another reason is eating sugary snacks and drinking sugary sodas. It’s best to get well informed than suffer the consequences later.

Q: Does tooth decay and tooth cavity mean the same thing?

A: Most people use the word tooth decay and tooth cavity interchangeably, but in reality they are one and the same. Tooth decay is really a process that results to tooth cavity. Tooth decay is the gradual damaging of the teeth caused by bacterial acids as they eat the food debris and plaque on the teeth. As the enamel get damaged (eaten away by bacteria), it creates an opening or a hole in the tooth surface which in turn is called cavity. This hole or cavity starts quite small that is not even seen by naked eye and little by little keeps getting bigger.

Q: How can I detect if I developed a cavity?

A: If a cavity is small, you can’t tell you have it. There is also no pain associated with cavities until they have become very deep. Dental X-rays can detect them. That’s why it is recommended to have your regular dental checkups. Your dental care provider can also measure the extent of the damage (how big the cavity is by the use of X-rays. During your dental check up, your dentist inspects your teeth for the signs of any cavity development. If the cavities have become bigger, they can be seen with the naked eye. They usually appear as a black spot or hole in your tooth. Sensitivity and toothache are also reliable signs, but at this point the cavity is probably very large.

Q: When is the best time to treat dental cavities?

A: The best time is when they are small, before they cause any more damage and destroy more of the tooth structure.

Q: How is dental cavity treated?

A: Your dentist will examine the extent of the damage. The size of the cavity determines what treatment is suited for it. Most are treated with fillings. Sometime if the cavity has become bigger and destroyed more of the tooth structure, an inlay or an onlay maybe recommended. If the damage has been extended where the tooth structure has weakened to the point of near fracture or has actually fractured, a dental crown is recommended.

When the cavity is too extensive and has reached the nerve, then a root canal is needed.

Q: Are there any ways you can prevent cavities?

A: Aside from a good oral hygiene which means a good home care, brushing 2-3 times per day and flossing once per day, and getting your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist or dental hygienist, dental sealants are a great way to protect teeth. It is usually done on children when their permanent teeth have just erupted. But it can be done at any time and at any age, as long as the teeth are cavity free and don’t have fillings on them. Also you should have a well-balanced diet. Avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as possible.

Q: Are cavities contagious?

A: According to studies, the bacteria that cause cavities can be transmitted from one person to another. Click here to read more about this.

If you have any more questions about dental cavities, we will be happy to answer them for you. If you need a dental check up to keep your teeth in perfect condition, please call us for an appointment at (323) 771-7254.

By Ladan Zinati


  1. FAQ’s On Cavities | St James Dental Group
    January 20, 2013

    […] Read more about FAQ on dental cavities […]

  2. Jack
    January 27, 2013

    I did not know that tooth decay was the process in which leads to a cavity. I have been debating and going to dentists a lot lately and all information I can obtain is greatly appreciated. Also the different treatments after reading this article make a lot more sense.

    • admin
      January 30, 2013

      Jack, I am glad to be of help.

  3. Ronnie
    January 27, 2013

    The way I see it is that you only have one set of teeth in your lifetime, so you need to take care of them. And as the article says, you need to brush, floss and make that trip to the dentist for a professional cleaning.

  4. Brittney
    January 28, 2013

    This was very informative being that I have a cavity now. I think its at the point where they might have to pull it out. Sometimes it hurts so bad the pain shoots through all four teeth on that side. I want to get it pulled but that was the worst pain ever. I need to get into a dentist office asap.

    • admin
      January 30, 2013

      Brittney, You should definitely see a dentist right away. Don’t loose hope, there is still a chance that your tooth can be saved and you won’t need an extraction. You might just need a root canal.

  5. john meinke
    January 28, 2013

    This is good information. We all have cavities sometime in our life and these are all questions we need to be answered.

  6. John Miller
    February 6, 2013

    My daughter had a cavity that kept her out of school for three days. The pain for her was horrible.

    • admin
      February 6, 2013

      John, I am sorry to hear that. Toothache is one of the worse pain you can have.

  7. Paul Cook
    February 13, 2013

    This article has really given me some extra knowledge I never had before about the dynamics of cavities and how extensive they can get. It also gives me a lot of encouragement, because with knowledge comes the power to be proactive and take charge with of my teeth much better.

  8. Chris H
    February 18, 2013

    I didn’t know that the bacteria that causes cavities could be conatgious! Good to know and kinda gross lol. Do you guys recommend an air flosser? I hear they make flossing so much easier for people who still have their 3rd molars like me.

    • admin
      February 22, 2013

      Hi Chris. Yes, I do recommend it, but at the same time I still think nothing replaces traditional flossing.

  9. dental care
    August 12, 2013

    I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice,
    keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later on. Cheers

    • admin
      August 18, 2013

      Thanks for visiting my blog and bookmarking it!

  10. Werner Bangs
    August 18, 2013

    I am not sure where you are getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this info for my mission.

  11. Children’s Healthy Smile | Dentist For Kids
    August 21, 2013

    […] school? If you have additional questions about healthy and balanced smile, you could get your Frequently Asked Question on dental caries addressed […]

  12. FAQ's On Dental caries | getridofhouseflies279 ...
    April 13, 2014

    […] Many people have had tooth cavities eventually in their lives. Did you understand dental cavities is the # 1 illness that has kids missing institution? There are numerous reasons for establishing cavities. Not brushing and flossing your teeth are the main reasons why you establish tooth cavities. Not going to the dental expert every six months is an additional. An additional reason is eating sugary snacks and drinking sugary sodas. It's finest to enjoy well notified compared to experience the effects later. In this article I will look at the most typical problems that individuals have relating to dental cavities.  […]

  13. FAQ's On Dental caries | andreiutz19 |
    April 14, 2014

    […] Lot of people have had dental caries at some time in their lives. Did you recognize dental cavities is the # 1 condition that has youngsters missing college? There are numerous reasons for creating tooth decays. Not brushing and flossing your teeth are the key reasons why you create dental caries. Not going to the dental expert every six months is one more. One more reason is eating sugary snacks and drinking sugary sodas. It's ideal to enjoy well educated in comparison to endure the repercussions later. In this blog post I will look at the most usual problems that folks have concerning dental cavities.  […]

  14. Frequently Asked Question's On Tooth cavities |...
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    […] Did you recognize oral tooth cavities is the # 1 condition that has youngsters missing out on college? Not cleaning and flossing your teeth are the key factors why you create dental caries. In this blog post I will certainly go over the most usual concerns that folks have relating to oral tooth cavities.  […]

  15. Frequently Asked Question's On Tooth cavities |...
    April 15, 2014

    […] Did you understand oral tooth cavities is the # 1 illness that has kids missing out on institution? Not cleaning and flossing your teeth are the main factors why you establish tooth cavities. In this article I will certainly go over the most typical concerns that individuals have concerning oral tooth cavities.  […]

  16. A Holiday’s Survival Guide for Your Smile | St. James Dental Group
    November 9, 2014

    […] Sugar can wreck havoc on your pearly whites. It’s a complicated process, but here’s the scoop. Bacteria in your mouth use sweets as energy, growing and multiplying faster than they would otherwise. Some bond with the sugar to form a sticky glue like substance called plaque. Plaque, in turn, produces acid. The acid dissolves the minerals that make your tooth enamel hard, and the surface becomes porous. The acid causes these tiny holes in the enamel to become bigger until a bigger hole appears. This is a cavity. […]

  17. Toothache FAQs - St. James Dental Group
    December 5, 2014

    […] heat. A toothache can be caused by sensitivity to hot or cold or a more serious problem like a dental cavity, dental abscess, a cracked/fractured tooth, an exposed tooth root or gum disease. One […]

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