Frequently Asked Questions

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Cavities Q&A

What are cavities?

Cavities are small areas of tooth decay that attack and breach your tooth enamel. When you don’t properly clean and care for your teeth, bacteria can eat away at your tooth enamel and begin the process of tooth decay. It is essential to get cavities filled when they develop. If left untreated, a cavity can grow and affect the pulpy interior of your tooth. When this happens, you could lose the tooth or might face more invasive dental treatments to try to save your tooth.

How can I tell if I have a cavity?

Dr. Kim checks for cavities when you have your regular six-month exam. He keeps records of your teeth for comparison to check for any changes or signs of decay. Cavities typically develop in the pitted tops of your molars and beneath the surface of your teeth where they aren’t easily seen by the naked eye. In some cases, cavities don’t cause any symptoms, although toothache and sensitivity are signs that a cavity is developing.

How are cavities treated?

If you are diagnosed with a cavity, Dr. Kim removes the decay and fills the space to protect the tooth. First, he numbs your tooth and the surrounding tissue in your gums and cheek. Then Dr. Kim uses a special drill to remove the decayed parts of the tooth. He cleans out the area and checks that all of the decay is removed before filling the hole with either a composite filling or metal amalgam filling. Approximately 90% of his patients have the composite filling because it is the same color as your teeth and almost invisible. Dr. Kim uses modern dental technology and materials to make cavity filling as noninvasive and painless as possible.

Can I prevent cavities from developing?

Maintaining good oral hygiene is critical to protecting your teeth from decay and cavities. You should brush your teeth after meals and floss at least once a day. This daily care reduces the amount of plaque and tartar that develops on your teeth. It’s plaque and tartar that eventually lead to cavities, gum disease, and other dental health issues.

Don’t forget to schedule your regular dental checkups every six months. These regular appointments help Dr. Kim monitor your dental health and identify and treat any dental issues in their early, more easily treatable stages.

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