Cavities and abscesses

What is a cavity?

When plaque has been on the tooth for a period of time the release of acids and toxins can lead to the tooth rotting away which leads to a cavity or a hole in the tooth.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that occurs on teeth. This film of bacteria feed on sugars and release acid and toxins which can lead cavities. Plaque can best be felt rather than seen. It can best be described as the furry stuff on your teeth after you come home from a long day or night out.

When cavities become a concern

Over a period of time the tooth continues to rot away until the nerve is exposed. Nerve exposure leads to pain and infection. A severe toothache is commonly what you feel as this process is occurring. Some people describe the pain as worse than childbirth. If left untreated this infection can spread and lead to an abscess.

How to prevent cavities

The relationship between plaque, gum disease, plaque and rotting teeth has been heavily researched. The best way to stop cavities from occurring is regular, good brushing and flossing. When a cavity does occur it is important to nip it in the bud and stop the cavity from becoming a large deep hole.

As part of our active maintenance program we look for any cavities. If we find one, we will stop it while it is a small hole and prevent it from becoming a painful and expensive toothache.

Here are some recommendations to help you prevent plaque and cavities from occurring:

  • Brush well twice daily
  • Floss daily
  • Regular and routine dental checkups through our active maintenance program
  • Clean out rotten teeth and fill cavities before they become painful, big holes

What treatment do I need if I have an abscess?

If an abscess has occurred, or the nerve is exposed, there are two options:

  1. Remove the cause of the infection and the infected tooth.
  2. Root canal treatment.

Read about our approach to root canal treatment.

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