Ever Wonder: “How Do I Get Cavities?”
- Posted on: Feb 3 2016
Even though dental enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it can be damaged. Dental decay, or caries, means the decay of the tooth’s hard tissues, i.e. enamel and pulp. Tooth decay is a sum of several factors.
And… Clarendon Dental Arts has a brilliant new technology to detect questionable areas of dental decay or “caries” early on to map out a plan of preventative care! Another added bonus? No radiation. It is safe to use during pregnancy! We’d much rather prevent a cavity than have to repair! Learn more about our newest technology: DEXIS CariVu, below.
Back to how cavities begin…
There are many types of bacteria living in the mouth even normally. Mutans Streptococci bacteria in particular cause dental decay. Some people have more mutans streptococci bacte
ria in their mouths than others. In order to live in the mouth, bacteria need sugar. When bacteria feed off sugar, acidic substances are produced as their metabolites. These acids corrode the surface of the enamel, breaking down its components. From the enamel, dental decay can advance to the dentin and all the way to the pulp. As dentin is softer than enamel, dental decay advances more rapidly in it.
Diet is another significant factor in dental decay. Cavities form in the teeth when bacteria have regularly access to sugar. The quality of food and in particular how often one eats have an impact on dental decay. Each snack or meal causes an acid attack in which acidic substances erode the surface of the teeth for up to half an hour. Frequent sweet snacks and acidic drinks in particular are very detrimental to teeth.
Saliva rinses the mouth, decreasing the amount of bacteria on dental surfaces. In addition, saliva contains minerals that strengthen the surface of the enamel. The effect of saliva is the third significant factor in the formation of cavities. Dry mouth and decreased flow of saliva radically predispose to dental decay.
Fluoride strengthens the components of the enamel. Using fluoride may even stop early-stage damage on the surface of the enamel. Sources of fluoride include fluoride-containing toothpastes, fluoride tablets and fluoride varnish used by a dentist.
Clarendon Dental Arts newest technology for caries detection (preventative care) is DEXIS CariVu. It uses patented transillumination technology to support the identification of occlusal, interproximal and recurrent carious lesions and cracks.
By hugging the tooth and bathing it in safe, near-infrared light, CariVu’s transillumination technology makes the enamel appear transparent while porous lesions trap and absorb the light. This allows the clinician to see through the tooth exposing its structure and the actual structure of any carious lesions with very high accuracy.
Since transillumination can show lesions in the beginning stages, CariVu can aid the hygienist in identifying questionable areas early on and decide on a course of preventive care!
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