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Dental decay arises when oral bacteria feed on sugary foods, they produce acids. The acids mix with bacteria, food particles and saliva to form plaque, that sticky film you can feel on your teeth before brushing them.

Plaque wears down tooth enamel and creates tiny openings in the tooth. This allows the decay to thrive as it reaches the softer dentin layer beneath the enamel. This plaque continues to attack the dentin until it reaches the inner layer of the tooth or tooth pulp. Without treatment, the bone supporting the tooth is also affected.

Unless this decay is addressed by your dentist, you may have tooth sensitivity, a toothache, or pain whenever you bite down or chew. If tooth decay is allowed to go untreated, your body will eventually send out white blood cells to fight it, leaving you with an abscessed tooth that may need a root canal to repair.

Your teeth will thrive when you maintain regular, six-month dental cleanings and checkups to spot cavities in their early stages. Until then, what are the signs you should be aware of that indicate you may have a cavity?

  • A dark spot on a tooth.
  • Increased sensitivity to hot/cold foods and drinks.
  • Increased sensitivity to sticky, sweet, or sour foods.
  • Feeling sharp or throbbing pain in a tooth.
  • Feeling pain when chewing food or biting down.
  • Increased sensitivity to breathing in cold air through the mouth.
  • Losing a dental filling.
  • Fracturing or chipping a tooth.

When Dr. David O’Donnell and Dr. Matt VanZanten treat a cavity, they will remove the decay and fill the hole with a filling material. At ODonnell Family Dentistry we offer both amalgam fillings and composite, tooth-colored fillings to give you a natural-looking result. If you suspect you may have a cavity, please reach out to our team in Lexington, Kentucky at 859-269-4613 for timely treatment!