Treating Tooth Decay for Patients in St. Louis, MO & Beyond
Most people are aware that cavities are linked to tooth decay and are preventable through adequate dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth daily and visiting your family dentist every six months is your best defense against tooth decay. St. Louis, MO families know they can rely on West County Dental to educate them about tooth decay prevention. Dr. Pete Spalitto and the rest of our team are dedicated to helping patients of all ages prevent tooth decay to preserve the beauty of their natural smile. If it’s time for your next dental exam and cleaning, we urge you to reserve a visit at our family dental center soon. We provide dentistry for children and adults at one convenient location.
What Is Tooth Decay? What Causes Tooth Decay & Cavities?
The human body is full of bacteria, some of which are helpful and some of which are harmful to your health. Tooth decay is long-lasting damage to the enamel (hard surface) of your teeth caused by harmful bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria use sugars from the foods you eat to produce acids, which can cause cavities (dental caries) or holes in your teeth over time. Eating and drinking frequent sugary snacks and sodas are common culprits that cause cavities. Cavities are especially common in children, teens, and seniors who may not practice the best oral hygiene habits. Not brushing and flossing regularly can result in plaque formation on your teeth. Plaque that isn’t removed will eventually harden above or below your gum line into something called tartar. Tartar buildup is difficult to remove without professional help. Other common causes of tooth decay include worn tooth fillings, ill-fitting dentures, dry mouth, lack of fluoride, heartburn, and eating disorders, as stomach acids can also eat away enamel over time.
What Can Happen If Tooth Decay Isn’t Treated Quickly?
If you delay tooth decay treatment for too long, the holes in your teeth may expand and affect more than just the hard surface of your teeth. Once your tooth enamel has worn away, bacteria acids begin attacking your teeth’s dentin layer. Tooth decay often results in severe toothaches, sensitivity, infections, and eventual tooth loss if it’s not treated in time. Untreated tooth decay may result in bacteria being leaked into your bloodstream, which then can spread to other parts of your body. That’s why regular dental checkups are essential to your oral and overall health. Even if you don’t feel any pain, you could have tooth decay present. Dr. Spalitto and his trusted professional dental hygienists will thoroughly examine your mouth during your exam and cleaning to keep on top of your oral care. If we see any warning signs in your x-rays, we’ll discuss treatment options.
What Are the Warning Symptoms of Tooth Decay?
Cavities are not always painful, depending on their severity and location in your mouth. In the early stages of tooth decay, you may not notice any warning signs at all. However, as the decay worsens, you may begin to exhibit symptoms. These are the most common symptoms of tooth decay:
- Toothaches or Cavities
- Tooth Sensitivity to Hot or Cold Foods and Drinks
- Visible Holes or Dark Staining on Your Teeth
- Painful Bite or Infection
How Dr. Spalitto Treats Cavities at West County Dental
Tooth decay and cavities are typically treated with fillings. Your family dentist will remove the decayed material and restore your tooth by filling in the cavity with a tooth-colored filling material. If the decay and infection have spread to your tooth’s pulp, a root canal or tooth extraction may be necessary. Your dentist may apply a fluoride gel or varnish on your teeth during your next checkup, which may protect or help your tooth enamel. If cavity prevention for your kids is a concern, be sure to ask Dr. Spalitto about the possibility of dental sealants. Sealants are applied to your child’s teeth and act as a barrier between their teeth, harmful bacteria, and irritating food particles.
Is It Time for a Checkup? Schedule an Appointment Today!
Practicing good oral hygiene and remembering to come in for your checkups can help you prevent cavities and tooth decay. If it’s time for your next checkup and cleaning, contact West County Dental to reserve a visit at your earliest convenience. If you’re a transferring patient, you may view our new patient forms, oral health frequently asked questions, financing options, and payment and insurance information among our online patient resources. Get the care you deserve at our family dental center in West County, now accepting patients of all ages from St. Louis, Chesterfield, and more.