Scientists now recognize that dental cavities (caries or decay) are mainly caused by a bacterial infection on the teeth. Dental cavities are an infectious disease that are associated with high levels of decay causing bacteria and can be transmitted to other members of your household.
The bacteria that cause cavities use refined sugar and produce acid that destroys enamel on the tooth.
Good oral hygiene alone may not stop cavities.
Even if you brush, floss, and visit your dentist regularly, harmful levels of the decay-causing bacteria may still be present.
The development of cavities in an individual is affected by that person’s susceptibility to the bacteria in their mouth.
Our goal is to reduce the damaging bacterial numbers, modify your diet to reduce those foods that aid in acidic production and prevent further carious breakdown.
Types of Decay
Occlusal (biting) surface decay can occur where natural pits and grooves exist.
Smooth surface decay can occur on the sides and in between teeth where the toothbrush and floss can’t reach.
Root surface decay can occur when gum tissue receeds and exposes a more susceptible part of the tooth.
What are the risk factors?
- High levels of specific bacteria
- Dry mouth (Xerostomia)
- Diet containing refined sugar
- Deep pits and grooves in the enamel
- Defective enamel (outer layer)
- Exposed root surfaces
- Poor oral hygiene
If you have cavities, we know you have the bacteria that causes decay and that you are susceptible to decay. If you continue the same patterns you have now, you remain at risk for further breakdown.
We have developed a Cavity Management Program that teaches you new habits, changes the bacteria levels and environment in your mouth and helps protect your teeth from further decay.
Steps to Cavity Prevention
Identify Risk: We use the American Dental Association’s risk assessment form to determine if you are at risk of developing cavities in the future.
If you are at risk, we will make individual recommendations and tailor a prevention program that targets your needs. The following is a list of treatment options we may utilize:
- Maintenance Rinse: This rinse is designed to create an environment in the mouth that prevents the bacteria from re-establishing itself.
- Electric Toothbrush: We encourage the daily use of electric toothbrushes. Those with sonic technology work like tiny but powerful waves, dislodging plaque that isn’t normally reachable by a manual brush, nor the oscillating or rotating movement of other power brushes.
- Remove existing cavities: All cavities should be removed, and fillings or crowns be placed to protect your teeth.
- Sealants: We recommend a resin material to cover and protect deep grooves that harbor decay causing bacteria.
- Fluoride: In-office fluoride treatments will provide topical protection for teeth.
Daily Home Program
- Brush and floss daily
- Daily use of maintenance rinse
- Limit sweets and refined sugars
- Incorporate Xylitol into diet five times per day
- Chew sugar-free gum or mints containing Xylitol (best after meals)
- Hygiene maintenance appointments every 3 months to include hygiene care, exam, professional fluoride application and x-rays. This allows the removal of cavity causing bacteria in areas that may be difficult to reach, evaluation of all the teeth for further breakdown and recommendations for improving your homecare.
We aim to give you the necessary tools to change your dental future and improve your dental health.