Do you tense up when you pull into your dentist’s parking lot? Would you rather hear nails on a chalkboard than the whir of a dental cleaning tool? And do you feel faint if your check-up indicates a cavity?
If so, you’re not alone, but we’d like to help debunk your fear of dental treatment for cavities. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, tooth decay and dental cavities are so prevalent; they are second only to the common cold. And if left untreated, a small cavity can create much more serious and painful problems.
What Causes Cavities?
Even with twice daily flossing and brushing, cavities are still a possibility. Indulgences in sugary or starchy foods can drastically change the pH level of your mouth, creating the perfect environment for the infection that leads to a dreaded cavity. In addition to sugary foods, tiny particles of food can get trapped in the crevices of your teeth or just below your gums, which can become a feast for the bacteria that fuel the cavity infection.
It only takes 20 minutes for the bacteria in your mouth to make a meal out of left over food particles, creating an acid that can dissolve the outer coating of your teeth. Days and weeks and years of this process can lead to a cavity even for someone who has the most rigorous dental hygiene!
Early Detection is Key
Cavities start in the tooth’s enamel, which does not have any nerves, so you won’t feel pain when a cavity begins. For this reason, scheduling at least twice-annual dental check-ups is recommended to ensure early detection. If a cavity is discovered during your exam, the best course of action, of course, is to get it treated as soon as possible. We understand that this may be easier said than done when you fear dental treatment, but remember: allowing a tooth to rot would be much scarier and painful than a simple treatment if the cavity can be caught early.
Treatment of Cavities
The process to treat a cavity involves removing the decayed part of your tooth and filling the space to maintain your tooth’s structure. Various factors play into how much quality time you’ll get with your dentist including where the cavity is located and when it was detected.
Don’t Stress. Discuss Your Concerns with Your Dentist
The best way to manage stress and reduce pain related to dental work is to be very honest with your dentist about your anxiety level related to dental treatment and your pain threshold. With the variety of treatment and support options now available to make dental procedures less stressful, there’s absolutely no reason for you to suffer through a cavity or other dental pain.
Good dental hygiene along with regular cleanings and check-ups are your first line of defense. But if you have a cavity, remember that you’re in good hands with a caring dentist who wants to work with you to ensure that you experience the least amount of stress possible.
Until next time… Keep on Smiling!