Cavity Treatment

I Think I Have A Cavity – Now What?

Do you have a sensitive spot in one of your teeth? If so, it may be a sign that you’re dealing with a cavity. Whether you suspect that this is your first cavity, or it’s just the most recent one, we’re here to help. But what should you do if you suspect that you have a cavity? Below, we explain what you should do if you believe you have a cavity in one of your teeth.

I Have A Cavity

If you think you have a cavity, you’re not alone. Each year dentists diagnose and treat more than 3 million cavities in the United States alone, and cavity formation is the number one reason why kids miss time from school. So while cavities are pretty common in today’s society, it doesn’t mean that you should just ignore them.

Unless you have a regular dental cleaning scheduled within the next week, it’s a good idea to call and schedule an appointment and let them know that you believe you’re dealing with a cavity. That’s because a cavity is a hole in your tooth, and the longer your inner tooth is exposed to food and bacteria, the more damage that can be done. Left untreated, an infection can set in and that can require a root canal to fix. Even if it doesn’t progress to that level, the longer the cavity goes untreated, the bigger it can become. Call your dentist as soon as you notice a funny feeling in one of your teeth.

What Happens Next?

If you’ve never had a cavity before, you probably don’t know a lot about the procedure the dentist performs to fix the issue. It’s a very straightforward procedure that can be performed in one short visit.

During your visit, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and the nearby area so that you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. The tooth will then be isolated and kept dry during the procedure to reduce the likelihood of infection. Any decayed part of the tooth will then be removed using specific dental tools. Once the decayed area is gone, the dentist will clean the tooth so it is prepped for the filling.

Once prepped, the dentist will apply the filling material and cure the filling to your tooth using a light or another device so that it seals to your tooth. It will seal almost instantly, and then the dentist will check your bite to make sure the new filling isn’t affecting your normal tooth alignment and bite. Finally, the dentist will polish the filling so that it is as smooth as your other teeth.

That’s it! The procedure doesn’t take very long, and you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your teeth are protected against the elements. So if you’re dealing with sensitivity or pain in one tooth, don’t ignore it and hope it goes away on its own, because it probably won’t and the damage will likely get worse. If you want to talk to Dr. Brooks about your filling options, reach out to his office today for more information.

Cavity Tips

10 Quick Tips For Reducing Your Cavity Risk

Nobody wants to deal with the time and cost associated with having a filling put in, but if you’re not careful about how you treat your mouth, you may be increasing your risk of cavities. While these methods won’t guarantee you’ll never have a cavity, if you practice all these tips, we’re confident you’ll greatly reduce your risk of needing a filling. Here are 10 quick tips for reducing your cavity risk.

How To Prevent The Need For Fillings

Here’s how you can quickly and easily reduce your cavity risk:

  1. Brush Your Teeth – Simply brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time can go a long way in reducing your cavity risk.
  2. Fluoride Toothpaste – When brushing, make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride, which helps to strengthen teeth. Look for a product with the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.
  3. Ditch Soda – Instead of cavity-causing soda, make water your drink of choice to protect your teeth.
  4. Regular Dental Checkups – Make sure you are seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings and other preventative care measures.
  5. Avoid Sticky Snacks – Raisins, gummies, and dried fruits can stick to your teeth, giving bacteria an increased ability to damage your teeth and cause cavities.
  6. Floss – Flossing once a day can help to remove plaque and other deposits that can eat away at your tooth enamel.
  7. Chew Sugar-Free Gum – Gum can curb cravings and increase saliva production, both of which help to keep the appropriate amount of bacteria in your mouth.
  8. Rinse After Acids – If you’re drinking a lot of juice or coffee, consider drinking some water shortly afterward. This can help to remove potentially damaging acids from the surface of your teeth.
  9. Mouth Rinses – Mouth rinses are just another way to kill germs and protect your teeth daily.
  10. Stop Small Problems – Finally, if a tooth begins to feel painful or something doesn’t feel right in your mouth, schedule a dentist appointment. Getting out ahead of small problems can help prevent more significant issues like cavities or the need for a root canal.

For more tips, or to set up an appointment with Dr. Brooks, contact our clinic today.

Preventing Cavities

4 Diet Tips To Prevent Against Cavities

Cavities develop when we allow plaque and bacteria to damage the surface of our teeth, and one way in which we can either set up or prevent against providing a good environment for tooth decay to occur is through our diet. What we eat and drink plays a big role in whether or not cavity-causing bacteria are allowed to prosper in our mouth.

Practicing good dental hygiene by brushing and flossing daily can go a long way in preventing against cavities, but so too can a healthy diet. Today, we share four tips for ensuring that the diet we eat isn’t putting us at risk for cavity development.

Make Water Your Drink of Choice

Water is a great choice because not only does it avoid jeopardizing your teeth like some other drinks, it actually works to strengthen them. Water contains fluoride, which helps to prevent tooth decay and cavities. Other drinks, like sodas, juices, coffee or alcohol can all cause problems for your teeth. Sugas from juices and sugars can create a perfect environment for cavity-causing bacteria, coffee can stain teeth, and alcohol can negatively affect your gum health. Stick with water as your main liquid of choice, and you’ll reduce your cavity risk.

Dairy, Veggies and Fruit are Great Options

You have to be a little careful about the acidity and natural sugars in some fruits, but these food groups all provide essential vitamins and minerals that can strengthen your teeth and help prevent cavities. Calcium and potassium help to improve bone mineral density, which is necessary for strong and healthy teeth. Make these foods groups the main focus of your meal.

Avoid Sticky Foods

Foods like gummies, raisins and other dried fruits are not only packed with artificial or natural sugars, but they also have a tendency to stick to your teeth. The longer they remain on the tooth surface, the more damage they can do in terms of causing cavities. If you’re going to eat these foods, eat them in combination with other foods, as that will help to naturally wipe them off your teeth surfaces. Also consider brushing your teeth after eating these foods.

Avoid Constant Snacking

Aside from potentially affecting your waistline, regular snacking means that we’re constantly feeding the cavity-causing germs in our mouth. Kids that have the most cavities are usually the ones snacking throughout the day, and while it’s important to feed your kid when they are hungry, more infrequent, larger meals may do more for their oral health than a lot of smaller meals throughout the day.

Dental Fillings

How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?

When your dentist finds a cavity, the most common treatment option is to get a filling, which will prevent the cavity from growing and reduce any associated pain. But fillings aren’t indestructible and won’t last forever. So how long can you expect your fillings to last? That’s our topic for today’s dental education article.

Types of Fillings

There are two basic types of fillings – white (composite) fillings and silver (amalgam) fillings. How long a filling lasts depends heavily on the patient in question. For some, a filling may last for many years, while others may have a filling fall out within 2 years. It all depends on the patient, the dentist, and various other factors.

Daily activities like eating, drinking, and teeth grinding can cause wear-and-tear on your fillings that builds over time. Eventually, fillings may crack or fall out.

At Smiles for Life, we don’t use amalgam fillings because we don’t like the potential for cracking of teeth with those types of fillings. We only do composite fillings and only if less than 40-50% of the tooth is involved.  We may recommend a crown on ceramic onlay to give the tooth more strength long term for larger areas of damage.

Replacing Old Fillings

If you notice anything out of the ordinary with your fillings (cracks, pain in the tooth, or a filling that falls out), it’s time to make an appointment with your dentist to get the cavity re-filled. During your regular dental cleanings, your dentist will check all of your existing fillings for wear-and-tear. If there are any present issues, they may recommend fixing the fillings before they degrade further. Just another reason why it’s important to visit your dentist every six months!

Contact a Minnesota Dentist

Dr. Tim Brooks has many years of experience providing dental care to patients throughout the Twin Cities area. At Smiles for Life, we provide family and cosmetic dentistry services, working one-on-one with each of our patients to ensure compassionate, quality care. Whether you need to schedule a routine dental cleaning, or you’d like to investigate your options for invisible braces, we’ve got you covered! Contact Smiles for Life today to set up your appointment with Dr. Brooks at our Bloomington or Farmington clinics.

Cavity Treatment

What Exactly is a Cavity?

If you’ve been to the dentist before, you’ve no doubt heard of cavities. Perhaps you had one (or several) filled in the past. But many patients don’t know exactly what a cavity is. In this article, we are going to explain the ins and outs of perhaps the most common dental condition people experience – the cavity.

Cavities Explained

In short, a cavity is tooth decay that causes the destruction of the enamel (the outer layer of your tooth). Cavities are often caused by consuming sugary food and drinks. Over time the acidic nature of these types of food and drinks eats away at the enamel of your teeth. When the enamel is broken down enough, a small hole will form in the tooth. Patients with cavities will often experience pain (though not always).

Treating a Cavity

Treating cavities begins, first and foremost with a diagnosis. Your dentist will be able to tell if you have a cavity with a routine physical examination of your teeth. Treatment involves filling the cavity with a composite resin after the decay has been removed. These types of fillings have a more natural look and they match the tooth.

Preventing Cavities

There are several things you can do to prevent cavities. Here are a few:

  • Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups
  • Brush and floss your teeth twice a day
  • Limit your intake of sugary beverages and foods

Sealants can also help prevent cavities. Sealants provide a thin plastic coating that adheres to the deeper groves of back teeth making them less likely to get decay.  Also using prescription fluoride toothpaste may help protect those more susceptible to cavities.

Bloomington MN Dental Office

Dr. Time Brooks and the team at Smiles for Life Dental have been effectively treating patients with cavities for many years. Our team will work with you to make sure you feel comfortable through every step of your treatment. Contact us today at one of our Minnesota dental offices to make your appointment. Our primary clinics are located in Bloomington, but we treat patients throughout the state of Minnesota!