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What are Cavities and How Do They Form?

Cavities are one of the most common dental issues faced by individuals of all ages. When cavities form, treatment is needed right away. At Implants & Periodontal Arts, we can provide you with the treatment you need to restore your oral health and prevent more serious consequences from occurring. We are also here to help you understand how cavities form in the first place and what you can do to prevent them.

Substances in Your Mouth

Before getting into how cavities form, it is important to know some of the substances that occur in your mouth. Here are a few of these substances:

  • Saliva. Saliva is the liquid in your mouth that keeps your mouth moist. It serves a few important functions. Your saliva helps to break down foods so that they are easier to digest. It helps to wash away food particles and bacteria. It also aids in keeping your mouth at a balanced pH level.
  • Bacteria. There are many strains of bacteria in your mouth. Some are good while others can be harmful. One of the most harmful bacteria in your mouth the Streptococcus mutans. This type of bacteria easily latches on to your teeth and produces harmful acids.
  • Plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that accumulates on your teeth. It forms when bacteria begin attaching to your teeth and multiplying. Because it is so sticky, it continues to collect more bacteria, causing the plaque layer to thicken.

How You Get a Cavity

A cavity is a small pit that forms in your tooth as a result of tooth decay. It is commonly thought to be the result of eating too much sugar. Sugars are not the direct cause of cavities, but they can contribute. They provide food for oral bacteria, which consume them and then produce harmful acids. If these acids linger on your teeth for too long, they can begin to erode the protective tooth enamel, leading to weak spots, or decay. Over time, these areas of decay can grow larger and small pits begin to form. While decay can be reversed, cavities cannot, and treatment is needed.

The Different Types of Cavities

There are a few different types of cavities. These include:

  • Smooth surface cavities. These types of cavities occur on the smooth surfaces of your teeth. They are slow growing and not as common as other types.
  • Pit and fissure cavities. Pit and fissure cavities occur on the chewing surfaces of your molars. Small cavities can be treated with a filling, but larger areas of decay may require treatment with an inlay, onlay, or crown.
  • Root cavities. These are cavities that form on the root surfaces of the teeth. They are more common in adults, who have experienced gum recession.

Treating Cavities

There are many different treatments available for cavities. Typically, cavities are treated with amalgam or composite resin fillings. Larger cavities may require more invasive treatments such as an inlay or onlay, or a dental crown. In some cases, a root canal may be necessary.

Cavity Prevention

Cavities are common, but you can prevent them. One of the best ways to prevent cavities is with a good oral hygiene routine. You should brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and have your mouth professionally cleaned and examined every six months. Use fluoridated oral care products like toothpaste and mouthwash. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. We can also provide additional protection with fluoride treatments and sealants.

Cavities can be treated. You can also actively prevent them from developing in the first place. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, call Implants & Periodontal Arts at 602-825-2211 today.


Dr. Walia is proud to serve:

  • Chandler
  • Ahwatukee
  • Gilbert
  • Mesa
  • Tempe
  • Phoenix
  • Scottsdale
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Implants & Periodontal Arts / Endo Arts
Chandan Walia D.D.S.

3800 W Ray Road, Ste B6  Chandler, AZ 85226

480-963-2787 (ARTS)

Mon 9:00 - 5:00

Tue  9:00 - 5:00

Wed 9:00 - 5:00

Thu  9:00 - 5:00

Fri   9:00 - 5:00

Sat  9:00 - 2:00