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Dr. Samir G. Ayoub

Common Causes of Cavities

Submitted by Dr. Samir Ayoub on May 3, 2019 - 9:00 am
Common Causes of Cavities

Cavities are one of the most common dental problems Dr. Samir Ayoub sees at his practice. Ninety two percent of adults have had cavities at some point in their life. These tiny holes or openings in the teeth are caused by factors Dr. Ayoub will outline in this post.

How Tooth Decay Develops

Your mouth contains naturally-occurring bacteria. If you consume sugary foods or foods with carbohydrates, and you do not clean your teeth well, the bacteria in your mouth feeds on the sugars and turns them into acids. Combined with bacteria, saliva and any leftover food debris, the acid turns into a sticky film called plaque, which eats away at the outer layer of tooth structure, called enamel. Eventually, the enamel can develop small holes or openings, called cavities.

Cavities are more likely to occur on the back teeth because these teeth have plenty of tiny grooves and pits for bacteria to hide in. These teeth are also more difficult to brush and floss than the front teeth.

How Are Cavities Detected?

A routine dental exam with X-rays can detect cavities. Cavities may or may not cause noticeable symptoms; some people with cavities experience toothaches after consuming hot or cold foods or beverages. In other cases, the pits or holes of cavities are visible to the naked eye.

Treatment for Cavities

Cavities are treated by first removing the decayed portion of tooth enamel and then filling the opening with a tooth-colored material.

In cases of more serious cavities that have destroyed a significant portion of tooth structure, the decayed tooth structure is removed and a crown is placed over the tooth to restore and protect it.

Sometimes the decay is so bad that it reaches the soft tissue inside the tooth (i.e., the dental “pulp”). Root canal therapy is needed to remove the decayed portion of tooth structure and fill the tooth roots with a sealing material. The tooth is then covered with a crown.

Contact Dr. Ayoub Today

If you have noticed any differences in the way your teeth look, are experiencing sensitivity or tooth pain, or are due for your next dental exam, Dr. Ayoub invites you to schedule an appointment at our San Francisco practice today.