Everything You Need to Know About Cavities

Cavities are small areas of decay that form on the surfaces of teeth. Once a cavity forms, it can only be treated by a dentist. Fortunately, cavities can be corrected in one short visit to our Chicago, IL, dental practice. Once Dr. Robert Hessberger has treated your tooth, you can enjoy restored oral health and relief from oral pain. Our dental practice welcomes patients from throughout Niles, Norridge, and Park Ridge.

What Causes Cavities?

Tooth decay results from the interaction of food particles, plaque, and bacteria. Plaque is a clear, sticky biofilm that develops on the surface of teeth. With proper oral hygiene habits, regular dental cleanings, and a healthy diet, plaque can be prevented from causing cavities. Otherwise, bacteria feed on sugars in your mouth, and acid is released. This acid demineralizes and eventually erodes the surface of your teeth. 

Once a small cavity has formed, it will continue to grow. Left untreated, the decay can eventually reach the more sensitive inner tissue of the tooth, known as the pulp. An infection in this area can require root canal therapy or even tooth extraction to restore your oral health.

dental cavity
It is important to resolve cavities before the decay reaches the soft tissue within the tooth and causes infection.

Do I Have a Cavity?

If you do develop a cavity, you’re far from alone. A 2016 study by the Centers for Disease Control found that 90 percent of adults have had at least one cavity. and one in four adults has an untreated cavity. One of the best ways to stay ahead of tooth decay is to schedule dental cleanings at our dental practice every six months. During your visit, Dr. Hessberger will search for early signs of tooth decay.

Common risk factors for cavities include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent snacking
  • Inadequate use of fluoride
  • Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Teeth crowding
  • Sugary diet

Common symptoms of cavities include:

  • Toothache
  • Spontaneous oral pain
  • Heightened tooth sensitivity
  • Visible pits on your teeth
  • Small, dark stains on any surface of a tooth
  • Pain when biting

Ninety percent of adults have had at least one cavity. and one in four adults has an untreated cavity.

Treatment Options for Cavities

Once your cavity has been diagnosed, Dr. Hessberger can treat it. A special drill will be used to remove decayed tissue.

The treated space will then be cleaned and sealed with a dental filling. Our office offers tooth-colored composite resin fillings that are color-matched to your smile. Larger cavities may require a crown. We also offer inlays and onlays, which can be used to restore teeth when a filling alone would be insufficient, but a crown would be excessive. There is no recovery time associated with cavity treatments. Any resulting tenderness usually subsides within days.

Schedule Your Cavity Treatment Today

If you are experiencing symptoms of a cavity, or if you have not visited a dentist in the last six months, please contact our office online or call (773) 792-5562. Our office accepts CareCredit® financing to help patients afford treatment. 

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5511 N Harlem Ave
Chicago, IL 60656

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