Tooth Decay vs. Cavities


Some people use the terms tooth decay and cavities interchangeably, but this is not the correct usage. Tooth decay and cavities are different oral health concerns and require different treatment plans. Different situations also cause these oral health problems you must know how to avoid. Learning the cause of tooth decay and cavities is the first step you must take when avoiding bandit treating these problems.

Please continue reading to learn about the differences between tooth decay and cavities and their impact on your mouth. We will discuss key differences, treatments, and when you should visit a professional.

What Causes Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is caused by the acids in your mouth that attack your tooth enamel when bacteria builds up. So, if you want to avoid tooth decay, you need to use fluoride and floss your teeth frequently to keep your enamel strong. Your tooth enamel is a coating that covers your tooth and prevents it from becoming damaged by the bacteria in your mouth.

Your tooth enamel is see-through, so it’s hard to detect with the naked eye. However, if you visit a dentist, they can tell you when your enamel is wearing thin and you need to take measures to reverse your tooth decay. It would help if you brushed after meals to ensure that your enamel doesn’t wear down and avoid tooth decay.

Even foods you wouldn’t normally consider dangerous to your teeth, such as citrus and acidic foods, can wear down your enamel. This is a problem because you can find citrus in most meals and beverages, and you might not immediately have access to a toothbrush. It might be a good idea to bring a travel toothbrush with you whenever you go out if your tooth enamel is thinning.

What Causes Cavities

You could consider tooth decay as the predecessor to cavities. After your enamel wears out and bacteria attacks your teeth, you can develop permanent damage to your tooth called cavities. A cavity is a hole in your tooth that will get more prominent if you don’t treat it. This hole can cause excruciating pain and make it difficult to eat.

Even though you can reduce tooth decay, you can only get rid of small cavities through fluoride treatment. Large cavities need a dentist for fillings or crowns if you don’t want to feel pain anymore. It is physically impossible to heal a cavity alone, but you can heal tooth decay without medical intervention. So, the best thing to do is to avoid cavities by being careful about what you eat and brushing your teeth twice a day after you eat.

Key Differences Between Tooth Decay and Cavities

Cavities are damaged to your teeth that are caused by tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria in your mouth attacks the enamel on your teeth and destroys it. The following are differences you can spot between tooth decay and cavities so you know which situation you’re dealing with.

  • Cavities are holes in your teeth that you can often spot without an X-ray once they’re large enough.
  • Tooth decay is the predecessor to cavities. Once your enamel wears out, cavities can easily form in your teeth.
  • You can reverse tooth decay, but you cannot reduce cavities.
  • Cavities are much more painful than tooth decay, and you might not notice your teeth decaying until it’s too late.
  • To treat cavities, you need to have a dentist fill them, but to treat tooth decay, you can do so at home.

Learning about the differences between cavities and tooth decay it’s important if you want to treat your situation properly. For example, if you try to cure cavities with fluoride toothpaste, you will be out of luck if you’ve got the cavity for a while. The only way to get rid of cavities is to consult a dentist for a filling.

Also, learning these differences is a great way to prevent counties from happening in the first place. The sooner you start working to stop tooth decay, and its place, the better off your oral health will be. Using fluoride toothpaste and flossing frequently is a great way to prevent oral issues that can interfere with your day-to-day experience.

How an Orthodontic Dentist Treats Cavities

Orthodontic experts treat cavities by filling the hole with gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, and composite resin. Composite resin is the most popular option for modern dentists because it can be colored to blend in with your teeth, so no one even knows you have a filling. Gold and silver fillings are extremely noticeable, but some people prefer their appearance, and they might be available at your orthodontist upon request.

If your cavities are severe, the dentist might have to remove the tooth entirely, and you’ll have to purchase false teeth. However, when you treat your cavities in time, you’ll only need to worry about fillings. That is why it’s recommended that you visit a dentist once a year for a checkup.

How To Know When You Need Orthodontic Services

Aside from a yearly checkup, you can identify when you need orthodontic services based on how your mouth feels. For example, if you experience pain or sensitivity while chewing, you could benefit from a dental service that will resolve the issue for you. If you notice any holes in your teeth but don’t feel any pain, it would still be ideal for visiting an orthodontist for assistance.

Dental problems are much more common than you think, so you should schedule an orthodontic appointment whenever you suspect an issue. This way, you don’t have to worry about your problems going unresolved and worsening. Dental pain can be excruciating when you don’t take the proper measures to get rid of it.

Final Thoughts

Treating your tooth decay as soon as possible would be best to prevent cavities. Tooth decay is reversible and usually isn’t painful. However, you cannot reverse cavities on your own, and fillings can be pricey. To prevent tooth decay, you should eat healthily, use fluoride, and floss daily.