Dental Caries and Cavities
According to the American Dental Association, dental caries affects nearly 97-percent of the human population worldwide at some point in their lives. The term caries is referred to as the injury to a tooth and the process the disease takes as it progresses. In other words, tooth decay is used as a synonym for caries. On the other hand, a cavity is the result of caries or the missing of a part of the tooth's structure. A cavity can happen due to abrasion, decay or tooth erosion.
Since it's such a prevalent dental condition, preventing, treating, and controlling caries and cavities is one of dentistry's most important goals. Here at Lake Sammamish Family Dentistry, we have access to the latest technology to diagnose and treat your cavities to preserve your original teeth and keep them healthy as much as possible.
How We Detect Caries
Visual examinations are critical in dentistry, however, sometimes the naked eye, even that of one of our professionals, can't see caries when it first appears. Along with a visual examination, we use dental probes to determine if caries is present. We have used X-rays in the detection of caries for decades, but there is emerging technology such as lasers that can help us detect early signs of decay. We are always updating our equipment to serve our patients more efficiently.
One of the benefits of not using x-rays in monitoring changes in the enamel, dentin, and cementum is that we avoid the use of radiation, something that concerns many of our patients. Radiation for dental x-rays is safe, according to the ADA, and the exposure is minimal.
Early Caries Detection
Along with good oral hygiene at home, regular visits twice per year, are the key to preventing and treating caries early. Once we establish your risk-assessment or how likely you will be to have cavities in the future, we can determine a plan of action.
Several factors can contribute to the development of caries including:
The Importance of Fluoride
Fluoride is deemed one of the most significant discoveries in the history of dentistry. Similarly, adding fluoride to the water supply of city water is also a significant development in improving millions of people's dental health.
Fluoride is a mineral found in nature, which helps to prevent tooth decay. It has been added to the water supply in most cities in the United States since the 1930s, and the results are proof this simple process is extremely helpful and effective. Scientific studies found that people who drink fluoridated water are less likely to be affected by cavities. However, many people don't take advantage of this, and with the popularity of watered bottle, the benefits of drinking fluoridated water have increased the incidents of patients with cavities in recent years.
Moreover, not all countries around the world use this practice. The European Union concluded their member nations don't need to add fluoride to the water supply because people get the amounts they need in toothpaste and fluoride treatments.
For more information about caries and cavities, call Lake Sammamish Family Dentistry at (425) 270-1075 today.