If there is one misfortune which your dentist wants to you avoid for as much as he or she can, then that would be having cavities. Also known as dental caries, cavities are holes which form on the surfaces of your teeth. However, these cavities can develop further into the tooth and can damage the underlying nerves and blood vessels which supply the tooth with nourishment and innervation. And once the pulp has become irritated, this leads to lots of pain.
The Anatomy of the Tooth
Each tooth is composed of three layers — the enamel, dentin and the pulp. The dental enamel is the mineralized, exterior part of the tooth which protects the rest of the inner layers. Immediately underneath the enamel layer is the dentin which contains microscopic pores that lead to the pulp layer. The pulp layer is where soft tissues such as blood vessels and nerves are all located.
Once the enamel layer has become compromised, substances are they able to penetrate into the pulp layer through the minute channels which are found along the dentin region of the tooth. This irritation can lead to severe pain in the sufferer.
The Development of Cavities
Cavities develop because of the utilization of sugars by bacteria found inside your mouth. Whenever bacteria utilize sugars, they actually secrete acids in return which then eat away at the enamel of your teeth. This causes the preliminary cavity formation. However, as the fermentation of sugars and release of acids continue to happen, the cavity will develop deeper and deeper into the tooth until it reaches the pulp.
Cavities are detected through regular dental check-ups. Your dentist uses a hook-like tool which is capable of probing through cavities which may be found along the surfaces of your teeth. However, if your dentist wants to have a more thorough method of checking for cavities, then he or she would most likely order a dental x-ray. Cavities are capable of showing through x-ray films, and it is even possible for the extent of the cavity formation to be reflected through the dental x-rays.
The routine method of treating cavities is through a drill-and-fill procedure. This involves drilling a hole through the cavity in order to get rid of decayed material outlining the cavity and then placing a composite resin material inside the cavity in order to seal off the hole.
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