Tooth decay happens in stages as plaque–a sticky film made of bacteria and food particles on the surface of teeth–begins to build up. Once the outer layer of your teeth, called enamel, has weakened, cavities follow. These small holes in teeth, which are also called carries, cannot heal on their own and must be treated or they will get worse. Although they are a very common and relatively mild dental issue that people of all ages face, it’s important to see a dentist quickly to resolve your cavities. At Bunker Hill Dentistry, we offer effective treatment in a serene environment to get your teeth and smile as happy and healthy as they can be. Check your symptoms for cavities The Different Types of Cavities There are actually three different types of cavities. Your treatment will depend on what kind of cavity you have, as well as how progressed it is. Root cavities are the most common type of carry, and occur mainly in elderly people with receding gums. The lack of protection at the tooth’s root due to the loss of tissue makes it vulnerable to decay there. Pit and fissure cavities occur on a tooth’s chewing surface. Due to their shape, this typically happens on the molars, or back teeth, as food gets trapped in the pits on top of them and isn’t properly brushed away. Smooth-surface cavities are similar to pit and fissure cavities, only they happen on the flat outside surface of teeth. Visible pit and fissure cavity on back molar. Source: Alejandro Lopez How We Treat Cavities There is one common preventive treatment for cavities, one for cavities that are caught early, and several for after a cavity has already developed, used according to the severity of the decay: Treatments to Prevent Cavities Dental Sealants Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that provide your molars with an additional layer of protection against decay. They’re sometimes referred to as pit-and-fissure sealants for the type of cavity most commonly associated with the molars. Dental sealants must be applied before decay has begun, which is why they are usually undergone by children beginning around age 6. Learn more about Bunker Hill Dentistry’s dental sealants service. Fluoride treatments Fluoride can help or even reverse a cavity if it’s identified early enough, by restoring the enamel. The fluoride is applied as either a gel or foam that can be brushed onto the teeth or held on the teeth by a tray that is placed over your teeth for a few minutes. Treatment for Early-Stage Cavities Dental Fillings Fillings are the simplest corrective option we have to resolve a cavity that is still in its early stages. As the name implies, a filling is a material that fills in the hole left in a tooth, whether by a cavity or cracking or chipping. This prevents food from getting into the tooth and lets the tooth function normally. We use only resin composite fillings at Bunker Hill Dentistry, but some dentists also use amalgam (silver) fillings. A filling procedure is painless and takes less than an hour. Learn more about our composite fillings treatment. Treatments for Advanced Cavities Dental Crowns Crowns are used for more seriously decayed teeth. A crown is a covering fitted to the top of your tooth that’s made of porcelain, gold, resin, or other material. If you require a root canal, a crown will be necessary to complete the procedure. See how we use dental crowns at Bunker Hill Dentistry. Root canals Root canals become necessary when the cavity has become so big that a filling will no longer suffice, but the tooth itself can still be saved. The dentist drills down into the tooth to access and remove decayed pulp and nerve, then fills the resulting hole. Finally, a crown is placed on top of the tooth. If a tooth is decayed beyond repair, a tooth extraction must be performed. Afterward, a bridge or dental implant can be installed for structural integrity in your mouth and for aesthetics. See how we make maximize comfort for root canal treatment. Why Bunker Hill Dentistry? Dr. Le and his wife and office manager Ann Le Specialists – As a dentist experienced in both cosmetic and general dental procedures, Dr. Le will treat your cavities and relieve any associated pain they may be causing. Serene setting – Our office is designed to provide a calm, relaxing environment to help put your mind at ease during treatment. Take a tour. Client satisfaction – We have one mission – total client satisfaction. “Care, Comfort, Convenience” is our guarantee to every client. More about Bunker Hill Dentistry. Reception room at Bunker Hill Dentistry State of the art – We utilize the most advanced technology such as the i-CAT 3D x-ray machine, All-On-4® implants and an anesthesia-delivery wand, for faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment. Conveniently located – Located in Memorial, just a short drive from Houston’s city center. Find us on the map. How Do You Know if You Have a Cavity? Check Your Symptoms The following symptoms could be an indication that you have a dental cavity: Toothache and pain that may seem to have no identifiable cause, and/or may come on suddenly Lingering or recurring tooth sensitivity, especially to sweets and very hot and cold foods Visible holes in a tooth White, brown, or black stains on teeth How to Prevent Cavities Although they can’t recover from cavities that have progressed enough to become visible, your teeth can fight off cavities before they fully develop, and you can help them do it by… Eating a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products loaded with calcium, vitamin D, and other important minerals. Limiting your intake of sugary foods and drinks such as soda, candy, chocolate, etc. Limiting the amount of coffee you drink, which indirectly contributes to cavities by wearing away enamel. Using an enamel-strengthening toothpaste such as Sensodyne Pronamel, especially if you’re a coffee drinker. Following a healthy oral care regimen of brushing at least twice per day (but not within 30 minutes after eating, to give your saliva time to rejuvenate your enamel) and flossing at least once. Going to your dentist for routine cleanings. That way the dentist can spot demineralization before it progresses into a cavity, or identify cavities that give off no symptoms at all (which can happen!). Replacing your toothbrush every three months to ensure it’s performing optimally. Getting dental sealants, or getting them replaced if you have them and they’ve worn down. Why It’s Important to Treat Cavities ASAP The sooner you catch cavities, the easier, cheaper, and less painful they are to treat. And while it can take years for a cavity to present in tough enamel, tooth decay works its way much faster through dentin (the middle layer of the tooth) and pulp (the innermost layer), where the tooth’s nerve endings are. Advanced tooth decay can necessitate more extensive procedures such as root canals or even tooth extraction, followed by dental implants, bridges, or dentures. Even though we can perform all of these treatments at Bunker Hill Dentistry, your natural teeth will always be the strongest and best option. Schedule An Appointment Today Not been to Bunker Hill Dentistry before? To help you prepare for your first visit, read our new patient information page.