Most dental patients already know that dental cavities can wreak havoc on their smiles. However, fewer people know how to identify cavities when they begin to develop. Our Glendale dentists are here to tell you that early detection and treatment for dental cavities is crucial to maintaining long-term oral health. Today we are going to be talking about how dental caries present, and how our team identifies emerging areas of infection and decay.
Many cavities begin as fairly small areas of decay on the patient’s dental enamel (the outermost layer of the patient’s tooth). As bacteria take root and grow, they can actually spread into the deeper layers of the patient’s tooth.
If a cavity has already spread and become severe, the patient may be able to spot unsightly signs of decay. The patient’s enamel may have dark brown, grey, or black spots on it. The tooth may be tender and prone to pain and sensitivity. Additionally, the patient may start to suffer from hard-to-freshen chronic bad breath (this is because oral bacteria emit unpleasant odors as they grow and multiply).
But how can we identify cavities before they become severe and more symptomatic? Well, the truth is that it may be tough for you to diagnose these types of cavities on your own. This is one reason why it is so important that you keep up with your schedule of semi-annual professional dental cleanings; our dental team is trained to spot emerging cavities, and we have the tools and technologies to make those hard-to-see caries visible.
One state-of-the-treatment that we utilize for cavity detection is the DIAGNOdent dental wand. DIAGNOdent emits a specific wavelength, which bounces off of the patient’s dental surface. Healthy dental enamel and diseased enamel react differently to this wavelength—healthy enamel emits little fluorescence, while infected enamel will show fluorescence. This revolutionary technology empowers us to pinpoint and treat oral infections before they progress.
To learn more about treating dental cavities, please reach out to our Glendale dentists for further information and guidance!