Have you ever experienced a surge of panic after looking at your smile in the mirror and finding spots? And, from there on, you shy away a full fledge smile, fearing someone pointing out that tainted tooth? But is that tainted tooth a result of a Dental Cavity or Stain?
Well, dental stains and cavities often look similar, and it is hard to differentiate between them in several instances. Both of these affect the enamel of the tooth but in different ways. So, how does one tell the difference between the cavity and stain? Here is a quick guide with critical differences between the two, their causes, and treatment.
What is Cavity?
As the name suggests, the dental cavity decays the tooth enamel permanently. A cavity starts as a single hole in your tooth and can permanently damage tooth enamel if left untreated.
What Causes a Dental Cavity?
One of the leading causes of dental cavities is sugary and acidic food items. These food items induce bacteria in the form of the buildup of sticky film that gets stuck to the surface of teeth, commonly known as plaque. These bacteria attack the tooth’s enamel and slowly decay, causing permanent damage.
Symptoms of Dental Cavity
- Extensive pain after biting down
- Tiny visible holes in your teeth
- Sensitivity from too cold, too hot, sweet, or sour food items
- Sudden toothache
- Brown, black spots on the surface of the tooth
What are Dental Stains?
Dental Stain is discoloration of the tooth. It starts from a small spot on the tooth and can affect its entire surface.
What Causes Dental Stains?
Significant causes of tooth stains are lifestyle habits like smoking and chewing tobacco. Certain dark-colored beverages also contribute to tooth stains, for instance, tea, coffee, sugary, acidic, starchy products, or some food items. Precisely, an acidic environment inside your mouth leads to the weakening of enamel and causes stains.
While these factors are responsible for extrinsic tooth staining, some intrinsic factors inside the body can also contribute to it. For instance, treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and medication like doxycycline & tetracycline.
How to Prevent Dental Cavities and Tooth Stains?
You can prevent dental cavities and tooth stains by maintaining good oral hygiene. We can break it down into some key steps-
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Practice oil pulling to maintain gum health
- Take a healthy diet, lots of fiber and less processed sugar
- Visit your dentist regularly
How to Treat Dental Cavities?
Dental cavity treatments are based on the degree of damage in the tooth. When the cavity is in its early stage, dentists suggest fluoride treatments. However, if tooth decay is extreme, dentists recommend tooth extraction to save another tooth from infection.
Let us understand the process through different degrees of treatment.
- Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride treatment prevents cavities in the early stage. If the damage is not severe, your dentist can suggest you go for this treatment. So, Why Fluoride Treatment?
It is because fluoride is good for the health of your enamel. Fluoride treatment aims to restore the minerals at the early stages of the cavity where enamels erode. This treatment can reverse the damage.
A dental cavity can cause a hole in your tooth. Therefore, to fill these holes and prevent further decay, the dentist suggests dental filling treatment. It is one of the most common treatments for cavities. Various materials like porcelain or composite resins fill the tooth in this treatment.
Crowns are part of the tooth that is placed above the gum line. A cavity can weaken or decay these crowns. In such instances, dentists remove the affected area and infuse a crown of resin, porcelain fused to metal, or simply porcelain. It involves placing a cap over a damaged tooth to prevent further decay.
- Root Canal
In this case, the tooth cavity has reached a level where the tooth’s pulp is badly affected. Root canal treatment is a step-by-step process.
It involves the removal of the diseased pulp of the tooth, cleaning the affected area, and filling the gap to seal the affected area. Root canal treatment targets the innermost part of the tooth.
- Tooth Extraction
Tooth extraction becomes the only choice when even a root canal can not save the tooth due to its high degree of damage. In such a scenario, your dentist is the best person to suggest further procedures and filling components to replace the extracted tooth.
How to Treat Tooth Stains?
- At-Home Whitening Strips
It involves products that act as a whitening agents. These whitening agents remove the stains from the surface of the tooth. However, a potent whitening product can also strip off the tooth enamel and trigger teeth sensitivity and irritation. The best way to treat tooth stains is under the supervision of your dentist.
- Dental Bonding
It involves the infusion of medicated material at the affected discolored tooth. This improves the tooth color and brightens it.
- Dental Veneers
This process involves placing custom-made shells over the surface of teeth. It is a cosmetic dentistry treatment where the dentist uses various kinds of veneers–
- Removable Veneers
- Porcelain Veneers
- Composite Veneers
In a Nutshell
In general, timely treatment is crucial for dental problems like tooth decay or stains. Therefore, we recommend regular visits to us, especially if you experience symptoms like tooth pain or swelling. TruCare Dentistry has an ecosystem of providing dental fillings and treatments for cavities and stains. If you are looking for the best dentist in Roswell, GA, or areas in the vicinity such as Sandy Springs, Marietta, Milton, Alpharetta, Dunwoody, or Woodstock, call (678) 321-7575 or check our website to book an appointment.