What is a cavity?

Cavities Information from Riverside Dental Center

Cavities pierce the protective enamel and dentin that surrounds your teeth, even going so far as to affect the parts of the tooth that contain important nerve endings.

While it is not entirely known what causes the intense pain that is commonly associated with someone afflicted with a deep cavity, it is believed to be a result of inflammation. This inflammation is the result of imbalanced fluid levels found in the dentin of the tooth, as well as exposure of the affected area to air.

The symptoms of a cavity can vary in severity, with many people experiencing no early signs of a cavity’s presence. Over time though, as the decay increases in the enamel, the most prominent symptoms are sensitivity to both heat and cold.

The diagnosis of a cavity is usually done as part of a routine examination or when a patient schedules an appointment as a result of pain experienced by the cavity. A visual examination is normally accompanied by physical contact with the tooth in question with an instrument known as an explorer. This pointed pick-like object examines the surface of the tooth in search of pits and damaged areas: two signs indicative of a cavity. In special cases, an x-ray is required to provide insight into the damaged areas of a tooth that physical exploration was ineffective in revealing.

Treatment of a cavity consists of filling a tooth so that it will not only prevent future decay, but also provide the tooth’s structure with stabilization.

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Riverside Dental Office

  • Address:
    4959 Arlington Avenue, Suite F
    Riverside, CA 92504
  • Phone: (951) 353-8454