Early Cavity Detection: Why It Is So Important And Methods Dentists Use

Posted on: 20 January 2016


Cavities are your worst enemy when it comes to the health of your teeth, and this is why dentists spend a lot of time and effort trying to locate them when they first begin appearing on your teeth. Dentists now use a variety of different techniques to find cavities, and they always recommend treating them, even if they are almost invisible to the human eye. Here are three important things to know about cavities.

What Is A Cavity?

A cavity is decay on a tooth. This decay first eats away at the enamel on a tooth, and then it begins to eat away at the tooth itself. Cavities can appear on the biting surfaces of teeth or in between teeth, and they may also appear near the gum line of your teeth. Leaving cavities untreated can eventually lead to losing your teeth, and this is why dentists take them seriously.

Why Is Early Detection Vital?

Not only is it important to find and treat cavities on teeth, but it is also vital to find them at an early stage. A cavity does not consume or take over an entire tooth overnight. The process happens very gradually, but it does not stop until the cavity is removed from the tooth and filled with a composite resin filling material.

If you can stop cavities when they first begin, you will benefit from this in several ways, including:

  • A dentist will need to remove less of your tooth if the cavity is discovered right away. This means you can keep more of your real tooth, which is always a positive thing in dentistry.
  • You will spend less on the tooth. Filling a small cavity will be a lot cheaper than the alternatives. If you leave a cavity on a tooth too long, it could cause you to need a root canal and a dental crown. Both of these procedures can be very expensive compared to the cost of filling a small cavity.
  • You might have a better chance at preventing gum disease. In addition, when cavities remain on teeth for long periods of time, they can begin to affect the gums in your mouth. Leaving cavities untreated could cause you to develop gum disease.

There are so many risks involved with leaving cavities in your mouth, which is why you should regularly visit a dentist to have your teeth cleaned and examined.

What Methods Do Dentists Use To Find Cavities?

During a dental visit, your dentist will take several steps to locate cavities in your mouth. The first step typically involves poking around your mouth with a tool, often called a dental scaler. As the dentist does this, he or she will look for visible signs of cavities and for soft spots. An early sign of decay is softness and stickiness on a tooth.

The second method dentists use for cavity detection is x-rays. X-rays are useful for seeing a clearer image of your teeth and the areas that are hard to see when looking directly in your mouth. X-rays often detect cavities that dentists do not see when they initially look, and they also help dentists know which areas in your mouth to examine more closely.

A third method many dentists now use to find cavities involves a laser. With this method, a dentist aims a laser in your mouth at your teeth. The light from the laser is fluorescent and is capable of highlighting the smallest amounts of decay you could imagine. The laser will not only reveal decay in teeth, but it is also helpful in finding decay that it is hidden under the gums.

One of the best ways to take care of your teeth is by visiting a dentist regularly. If you have not visited a dentist for a while, now is a good time to call a family dentistry clinic in your area to set up an appointment. Visit websites like http://www.vfdental.com for more information.