We get it. No one likes to come in and get a filling. There’s just something about the sound of the drill that unnerves a lot of people. Even though it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t really the most enjoyable way to spend an hour or so. You’d much rather be enjoying some French fries at a Cubs game we’re sure. That’s why many people want to know; can you reverse a cavity and avoid that whole drill/filling/numb business altogether? At Sugar Fix Dental Loft, Dr. Brittany Dickinson is all about prevention and minimal treatment. Whenever it’s possible, we offer several preventative therapies to our patients in the Lakeview and Lincoln Park neighborhoods.
First, How do Cavities Form?
Typically, cavities form as a result of sugar and bacteria in the mouth that are not removed properly through brushing and flossing. It is normal and natural for our body to have bacteria that help us with digestion. Over time, the bacteria form a thicker layer called plaque, which can really only be removed by a dentist. It’s not uncommon to have plaque on the teeth; that’s why we encourage checkups every six months. It allows us to remove the plaque for you before it turns into a bigger issue… like a cavity.
Can You Reverse a Cavity?
It’s probably no surprise that the answer to this question is a little complicated. Yes, your body has the ability to reverse tooth decay which can lead to cavities. However, if tooth decay is left untreated, it will turn into a cavity. Once this happens, you definitely need to see a dentist. Your body simply isn’t able to undo or reverse a cavity on its own.
Let us explain:
Our teeth have a protective layer called enamel that covers them and shields them from acid, sugar, and bacteria. The amazing thing about enamel is that it has the ability to lose minerals and absorb them again! Most of us have heard the term “pre cavity”. This is when your dentist sees a weak area in your enamel on the X-rays that are not affecting the second layer yet. At this point, the enamel can absorb more minerals and harden back up again. Our saliva contains the necessary minerals, but sometimes it needs a little help.
Being able to reverse tooth decay is pretty impressive… and helpful! Your body attacks tooth decay every single minute of every single day using saliva. Your saliva breaks down decay and repairs broken down minerals. Fluoride also helps with this process. However, they need a little help. Brushing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist are crucial. This way we can see when your body needs some extra help and we can apply fluoride after our cleanings, have our patients use a prescription strength toothpaste, or even use super strength fluoride trays at home. All of these therapies will help pack the minerals back into the weak spots in your enamel, allowing it to become a hard protective shell again!
If we can keep the “precavity” from breaking through to the second layer of your tooth, you won’t need a filling! If your dentist ever sees the precocity breakthrough, it can no longer be healed and needs to be filled.
Can Teeth Heal Themselves?
Our bodies are super impressive. After all, it has the amazing power to heal cuts and scrapes. But what happens when you chip or crack a tooth? Can our teeth also heal themselves if they get damaged?
Again, the answer is yes and no. It turns out, the only part of the tooth that contains cells are the roots. There are actually no cells in the crown of the tooth. This means cracks, chips, other damage to the crown of the tooth cannot be reversed; your dentist will need to take care of these issues for you! However, a minor issue in the root of your tooth could actually heal itself, probably before you ever notice something is amiss! A lot of the sensitivities you feel in your root are just from a minor injury (kind of like a bruise) and it clears up on its own or with a little coaching from your dentist.
Sugar Fix Dental Loft wants to be your Chicago dentist! If you are in need of teeth whitening, Invisalign, implants, veneers, same-day crowns, or just a routine checkup, we’re here for you! Give us a call at (773) 883-1818 or set up your appointment online by clicking here!