How Do Cavities Form in Teeth? By Tim Kelly, DMD, PA on November 10, 2014

Woman smiling broadly, showing off her teeth free from cavitiesCavities are probably the best known of all oral health problems, yet many people do not understand how they form or how they can be avoided. While Dr. Timothy M. Kelly and his team of dental professionals offer a full range of restorative dentistry procedures designed to return nearly any mouth to optimal oral health, they would prefer to help patients avoid these procedures in the first place. A beautiful smile is a healthy smile, and a healthy smile begins with teeth that are structurally sound and free from decay and cavities, clinically known as dental caries.

At the practice of Timothy M. Kelly, DMD, PA in Albuquerque, cavities are among the most common oral health problems we treat on a daily basis. We find that many of our patients are surprised to learn that they have cavities, believing that their at-home oral hygiene regimens are sufficient to keeping dental caries at bay. They emerge from treatment with a far better understanding of their oral health and how they can preserve the integrity of their teeth and gums over the course of a lifetime. One of the keys to good oral health, of course, is visiting our office at least twice a year for routine exams and professional cleanings as recommended by the American Dental Association. Another is to understand exactly how cavities form - and how they can be prevented.

How do cavities form in teeth?

The outer, protective layer of our teeth - the enamel - is remarkably strong and resilient. If we take proper care of it, there is a good chance that it will take care of our teeth for many decades, if not our entire lives. Of course, taking care of our enamel requires vigilant care. We have to brush and floss at least twice a day and after consuming particularly acidic or sugary foods and visit the dentist at least twice a year. We also have to avoid certain foods and bad habits such as chewing on ice and smoking.

Unfortunately, most people - even those who take reasonably good care of their teeth - will eventually experience enamel wear to some degree, whether due to trauma or a build-up of plaque on the surfaces of their teeth. Even those who brush and floss their teeth daily cannot remove all of the plaque and bacteria on their own. Without regular visits to the dentist, the enamel can become damaged, and underlying layer of the teeth - the dentin - can become exposed.

As the enamel erodes, the tooth becomes vulnerable to small holes and crevices. As a result, the tooth becomes weaker, and the inner structures of the tooth become susceptible to damage. Eventually, the root canals can become infected, which will put the entire tooth at risk.

Fortunately, avoiding cavities is a fairly straightforward matter. Common sense goes a long way:

  • Eat right
  • Brush and floss at least twice daily
  • Visit our office twice a year or as directed
  • Follow all between-appointment instructions provided to you by Dr. Kelly to the letter
  • If you smoke, quit; if you need help, ask us for resources

Contact Our Dental Practice Today

To schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Kelly, please contact our restorative dentistry practice today.

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Dr. Timothy M. Kelly

Timothy M. Kelly, DMD, PA

Timothy M. Kelly, DMD, PA, has been in practice in Albuquerque, NM, since 1981. He provides a wide range of cosmetic, restorative, and general dental services, with a special emphasis on the treatment of TMJ disorder. Some of our most popular services include:

To request an appointment with Dr. Kelly, please fill out our online form or call (505) 256-1770.

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"We believe that every patient has infinite worth and should be treated with dignity and respect. We are dedicated to educating, creating awareness, and empowering people to make treatment choices that are consistent with their own beliefs, needs and desires." Dr. Tim Kelly

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