Time is no friend to your smile. For instance, if you ignore cleaning your teeth long enough (even for just a day), then enough oral bacteria can form plaque and attack your teeth and gums. If you wait even longer, then one or more dental conditions can cause progressively worse damage to your teeth and gums. As the most common dental issue, tooth decay offers the best example. If you fail to prevent a cavity, then you only have a small window of time in which a filling can save your tooth. Once the window closes, you’ll need more extensive treatment, such as root canal therapy or tooth extraction and replacement.
The Progression of a Cavity
A cavity, which describes a hole in your tooth caused by tooth decay, begins much sooner than you might realize. It starts when oral bacteria (the building blocks of dental plaque) produce acids that weaken tooth enamel. You might not notice that your enamel is compromised or that bacteria have infected your tooth until the cavity becomes noticeably painful. However, you have a good chance of detecting a cavity in its earliest stages if you stick to a routine of regularly scheduled checkups and cleanings.
The Window for a Tooth Filling
Tooth decay is most notable for the cavities it causes, but it’s also the reason why many people require root canal treatment to save their teeth. In its severe form, tooth decay can reach the pulp chamber and the tissues housed inside of it. When this happens, root canal therapy can be necessary to remove the threat and save what remains of your healthy tooth structure. Fortunately, you have from the time a cavity develops until it reaches the pulp for a filling to be a viable treatment. Unfortunately, that may not be as long as you think; therefore, seeking treatment as soon as possible is always preferable.
Find Out if a Filling Can Still Save Your Tooth
If a cavity develops in your tooth, then treating it with a filling as soon as possible may be the only way to stop it from growing worse. To learn more, schedule a consultation with your dentist by calling Dr. Newman’s office today at 520-296-5439. We’re conveniently located inside the Grant Road Professional Plaza in Tucson, AZ, and proudly welcome the residents of all surrounding communities.