Cavities
 
 
Tooth Decay begins when the protein of your saliva combines with the sugars and carbohydrates of food particles left on and between your teeth. This combination creates bacteria-laden plaque, from which acid is produced that eats away at the hard enamel shell around your tooth. Left unchecked, a hole will be created in the enamel and a cavity will rapidly form in the softer dentin which lies under the enamel. If the cavity is caught in time, usually a Filling will correct the problem. Larger cavities may require an Inlay or Onlay, or a Crown. However, if nothing is done and the decay spreads, the sensitive pulp (nerve) may become involved, often causing an Abscess, and Root Canal Therapy or Extraction may be required.



x-ray (previous)
x-ray with cavity
No cavity on first X-ray.
Months later, cavities that start between the teeth can't be seen by visual examination, but they can be detected on an X-ray.

This cavity was detected and filled before the patient felt any discomfort, and before the nerve became infected or the tooth became abscessed.

There is another cavity shown in the X-ray on the right. Can you find it? It's difficult for the untrained eye to spot. Click here to see where it is. (Hint: It's not the left edge of the top left tooth. That's just the edge of the frame around the X-ray).