You're probably familiar with the damage acid can do. The
acid caused by plaque in your mouth can be a big problem too. Plaque is the
sticky film of food and bacteria that forms constantly on your teeth.
It's hard to see plaque. But look
how it shows up after we've stained it with red dye. If you don't remove the
plaque every day, these bacteria produce acid that will eat through your enamel
and give you cavities.
Finding cavities is sometimes easy, but sometimes it is more difficult.
For hard-to-find cavities, a dental explorer and x-rays are used.
The tops and sides of your teeth are checked with a dental explorer. X-rays
are used to look for cavities between teeth. Metal fillings and crowns show up
as bright white on the x-ray, and cavities show up as dark spots.
It's far better to catch and restore decayed areas while they're still small
and in the enamel layer of the tooth. Once they're in the softer dentin layer,
they really grow quickly. If they make it to the pulp chamber, we have a whole
new set of problems and a different treatment to discussóroot canal therapy.
The dental profession has assigned each tooth a number and every surface
of a tooth a letter. If cavities are discovered in your teeth, you'll hear
your dentist name the numbers and letters for each cavity. This keeps an
accurate record of the condition of your teeth, and helps your dentist
restore their healthy condition.