Ice cream…snow cones…s’mores…summer is filled with all sorts of delicious sweet treats to tempt your taste buds! But you have to be careful not to eat too many sweets or your teeth could end up with a hole in them. What are we talking about? Cavities!
Do you dread going to the dentist’s office? It’s OK. Many kids do. But the dentist’s office doesn’t have to be a place of fear! If you take care of your teeth properly, a trip to the dentist’s office can be as harmless as a routine check-up and cleaning.
Sometimes, though, dentists find holes in our teeth. Dentists call these holes dental caries. Most people just call them cavities.
Cavities form when our teeth decay or break down. This happens when plaque — a substance made up of germs that cause tooth decay — sticks to our teeth. If we don’t brush away all the plaque, the bacteria can create acids that eat away at the enamel that covers our teeth.
If they’re not fixed, cavities can grow bigger and deeper. If the cavity gets deep enough to reach the inside part of your tooth where the nerves are, you will likely experience a bad toothache that can be extremely painful.
Sometimes dentists can see cavities when they examine your teeth. Cavities aren’t always so easy to spot, though. Some cavities can only be seen if your dentist takes an x-ray of your mouth.
If you have a cavity, the dentist will usually fix it with a filling. First, the dentist has to remove the decayed part of your tooth. This is usually done with a special drill. Afterward, the dentist will fill in the hole with a special material that will make your tooth whole again.
Having a cavity filled can hurt a little, but dentists will usually give you an anesthetic to numb the pain. So don’t worry about a little pain from having a cavity filled. Any pain will be minor compared to how much your tooth will hurt if it doesn’t get fixed!