We are painfully aware what potholes do to our cars and trucks. They are the result of high usage and high impact on our roads which lead to cracks in the pavement. If the cracks are not fixed, they turn into large holes. This analogy plays out similarly with decay in your teeth. “Dental potholes” are small perforations in the enamel that become sensitive and are prone to tooth decay. Over time, the potholes in your mouth will get bigger and deeper unless you take care of the problem.
HOW DO YOU GET THEM?
The food and drinks you consume impact the health of your teeth. Acidic food and drinks can gradually wear down the enamel and make your teeth soft. Another leading cause of tooth erosion is heavy clenching or grinding. There are people who unconsciously, grind their teeth while asleep and others do it subconsciously, perhaps while they’re working. The grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety but also by sleep disorders.
For people who drink alcohol or smoke, consider this 2016 study by the Journal of the American Dental Association. Researchers discovered that people who drink or smoke are about twice as likely to grind their teeth.
HOW CAN YOU TREAT THE POTHOLES IN YOUR TEETH?
Dr. Alejandro Cavazos at Advanced Smile Care said there are several treatment options. One is a sealant that protects the chewing surface of the back teeth, where potholes typically arise. The sealants help avoid further decay or fillings. He said if you do have potholes, it’s best to take care of the decay when it’s small. There are several safe materials available for fillings. As for the grinders at night, ask your dentist about getting fit with a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
Cavazos says anyone who is experiencing mouth pain should visit the dentist office immediately. Do not wait any longer. This is a sign of nerve damage, which may require more extensive treatment such as a root canal, a crown or perhaps an extraction.
“The level of predictability goes up and better treatment outcomes can occur by catching potholes before they become sinkholes,” said Cavazos. “We can help in this way and other ways by addressing dental issues that are relatively small and straightforward before they become large problems, more involved and more costly.”
NEED EMERGENCY DENTAL TREATMENT?
If you’re in pain, or need help right away, contact us for an emergency exam! We are here to help. In most cases, we can provide same day treatment and eliminate your dental pain. As a courtesy, we offer a $1 emergency exam to new patients needing care.