How do dentists detect cavities?

Cavity, the scary word nobody wants to hear from their dentist. Most of us want to believe the myth that only children, teens, and young adults suffer from cavities. Unfortunately this is far from true, and research has shown that adult tooth decay is Australia’s most common health problem –leading to a lack of confidence, tissue infections, discomfort, and pain. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and need a dentist in Adelaide then read on to find out what you can expect from your dental consult.


What is a cavity?

In simple terms, a cavity appears when a tooth breaks down or decays. The cavity that we all know and hate is the space that remains once the decay has been removed by our dentist. Also known as dental caries, cavities are usually caused by plaque –a colorless film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and feels like sandpaper as you glide over it with your tongue.


The causes of cavities

The main villain to blame for your cavities is plaque –due to the fact that bacteria lives and builds upon our teeth. That’s the reason why dentists keep pushing us to brush and floss our teeth, in an attempt to remove plaque caused by deliciously unhealthy sugary foods that weaken tooth enamel. When the tooth slowly erodes due to our poor diet choices, cavities have an easier task of penetrating this once hard protective cover.


Where does the tooth experience cavities?

On the biting surface

Usually caused by plaque which gets trapped between the crevices of your teeth, this is common in children who are not used to thoroughly brushing their teeth yet. Between teeth. Plaque between the teeth is a common occurrence -the area is hard to reach. Because of that, your toothbrush might not do the trick, and you’ll need to regularly floss your teeth.


On the root surfaces

Typically associated with gum disease or periodontitis, this can happen once you get older and your gums shrink. This form of decay is also the most dangerous, as roots create the perfectly exposed environment for cavities to freely grown on.


How do dentists detect cavities?

At Adelaide Dental, cavities are discovered a number of ways. The most common technique is using hands-on or radiographic X-rays. The first approach involves using a handheld instrument with which our friendly dentist will probe the tooth surface and search for cavities. If the exploration detects any problems, it means that the surface of the tooth is acid-damaged –otherwise known as a dental cavity. At Adelaide Dental, we understand that you might be scared of dental procedures –and we will tailor our approach to your needs. We can skip the probing and prodding by performing a simple visual examination. As a rule of thumb, spotting teeth that are discolored, brown or darker, can sometimes serve as a good indication of a dental cavity. Alternatively, we can use dental X-rays -useful in identifying caries that are stuck between the teeth or under the gum. These types of cavities like to remain unseen or hidden, and won’t be visible with the naked eye. If the dentist discovers a cavity, they will repair it using a drill –which is relatively painless and quieter than you expect. Yes, painless! Once the decay has been removed, the dentist will fill the hole in your tooth with a special material, and voilà, you will the proud owner of a naturally-looking filling! If you’re looking for a dentist in Adelaide then pop into our Rundle Mall clinic, just across from the Myer centre and visit our friendly team.