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How Far Will You Let Tooth Decay Go?

  • August 15, 2016

If you saw your child doing something harmful, how long would you let them continue before you stopped him or her?

Most of us would step in quickly if we had any concern that a child could be physically harmed.

Now, turn that question on yourself. How long would you ignore a problem before you decided to do something about it?

This is a dental blog, so we do have a particular oral health concern in mind. Namely, we are thinking of tooth decay. Too often, patients will wait longer than they should to deal with a cavity.

By coming to Historic Triangle Dental Care early, they may have been able to fix the problem with a less invasive and less expensive treatment.

If you live in or near Williamsburg, VA, contact our dentist office as soon as you can if you see the signs of tooth decay.

Tracking Tooth Decay

We are assuming you would prefer to never have a cavity. We would like that for you, too, but statistics show that 9 in 10 American adults will have at least one cavity during their lives.

With that in mind, we want you to know what you should be looking for.

A cavity is a small hole in your enamel. If it’s small it may not be apparent at first. Over time the hole may become bigger, or you may notice that part of a tooth has started to change colors. This discoloration may be yellow, brown, or black.

If the cavity is is a part of your mouth that you can’t see easily, this can allow it to grow until you notice increased tooth sensitivity.

If you notice any of these things happening, please come to see us as soon as you can.


The best way to deal with tooth decay is to prevent it from taking hold.

Think of tooth decay like a mouse. You don’t want it inside your house any more than you want bacteria on your teeth.

Daily brushing and floss are meant to remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth. Plaque is a sticky film created by bacteria that keeps them close to your teeth. In a way, plaque serves as a staging area for an assault on your teeth.

Brushing and flossing can remove the plaque before they do any real damage. (As an aside, fluoride treatments can help to repair minor damage to your enamel.)

Your preventive care also should include regular visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning and examination.

Nip It In The Bud

Once you know you have a problem, you can take care of it easier if take care of it as soon as possible.

There’s a phrase for this, “Nip it in the bud.” If you recognize the signs of a cavity, then we would encourage you to make an appointment at your earliest convenience.

We can remove the decay and give you a dental filling to restore your tooth before the cavity grows too large and starts to weaken your tooth.

A dental filling is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to deal with this issue.

If you wait a little longer, then a dental filling may not be effective. In those cases, a dental crown is required.

After the decay is removed, a dental crown can be crafted to look and feel like your natural tooth. The dental crown also protects the healthy parts of your tooth from another attack from the bacteria.

Rooting Out An Invasion

If you haven’t acted to stop the bacteria at this point, you could be risking an infected tooth.

This occurs when the bacteria is able to eat all the way into the center of your tooth where you have pulp, blood vessels, and nerves. When bacteria attacks pulp, the soft connective tissue can become inflamed.

This can be quite painful when you bite or chew, if you eat or drink anything hot or cold, or at any time. This pain may linger or it may spike depending on what you are doing.

To deal with this, we will need to remove the infection, and that may require a root canal treatment.

Hopefully, you won’t let your tooth decay get this far.

Save Your Smile

Tooth decay can be harmful to your oral health, and it can cause serious changes to your smile. You can stop the decay with preventive care or with early intervention at Historic Triangle Dental Care.

Use our online form or call 757-903-2527 to make an appointment at our dentist office in Williamsburg, VA.


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