Can Cavities Lead to Tooth Loss?
When people go in for a routine dental appointment, most are hoping to receive a clean bill of oral health. However, it is not uncommon for minor dental problems to develop in between dental appointments. As long as patients maintain a routine schedule of checkups, these problems should be minor and relatively easy to address.
One of the most common dental complications is a cavity. Cavities are small areas of decay that compromise the structure of the tooth. Restorative dentistry treatments eliminate damaged tooth enamel and replace it with a strong and protective restoration. This not only restores the health of the tooth, but also helps to prevent more serious complications.
Unfortunately, some patients neglect routine dental exams, or the follow-up care that is recommended. This is when problems, such as tooth loss, can develop. We help patients avoid tooth loss from cavities through restorative treatment at our Charlotte, NC dental practice, Advanced Dentistry of Blakeney.
Stages of Tooth Decay
Because cavities are such a common dental problem, many patients fail to take the condition seriously. Some patients are not concerned when they hear they have a dental cavity; as a result, they may delay necessary restorative dentistry treatment. By postponing treatment, patients increase the risk of further dental complications, including tooth loss. Tooth decay is a progressive condition. As decay advances, tooth loss becomes more of a risk. Below are the basic stages of tooth decay:
- Minor tooth decay: Minor tooth decay refers to cases in which a small area of tooth enamel has been lost or damaged by decay. These small holes in the outer layer of tooth enamel are commonly known as cavities, and can be treated with a dental filling.
- Moderate tooth decay: As decay advances to the moderate stage, more of the tooth will become damaged. Larger cavities can damage the biting surface between the tooth’s cusps, or even the cusps themselves. These larger areas of decay often cannot be adequately treated with a dental filling, and are likely to require an inlay or onlay.
- Advanced tooth decay: Advanced tooth decay greatly compromises the structure of the tooth. Advanced tooth decay is especially dangerous because it exposes the inner layer of the tooth and increases the risk of a root canal infection. When this much damage has occurred, patients will probably need a dental crown to restore and protect the exposed surfaces of the tooth.
Preventing Tooth Loss from Cavities
In most circumstances, a dental cavity will not lead to tooth loss. These minor cases of decay can be effectively treated with a dental filling. During treatment, our experienced dentist will clean the affected tooth to remove any damaged tooth enamel. Then, a tooth-colored composite resin will be applied directly to the surface of the tooth. This material is shaped to the tooth so that it restores damaged enamel while maintaining the aesthetics of the tooth.
A dental filling strengthens the tooth, protects its inner nerves and tissues, and creates a barrier to block out harmful bacteria. As long as patients maintain a routine schedule of dental exams and cleanings, and undergo any necessary restorative dentistry treatment in a timely manner, there is no reason that a dental cavity should lead to tooth loss.
Schedule an Appointment
General dentistry services are a patient’s greatest defense against advanced dental complications and tooth loss. If you are due for a routine dental exam and are looking for caring and professional dental care, you will find what you are looking for at Advanced Dentistry of Blakeney. Schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to learn more about our full range of dental services.