How Are Cavities Formed? And What Are Your Treatment Options?

December 29, 2020

cavities, oral health

A cavity, also commonly referred to as tooth decay, is a common dental problem impacting millions of Americans each year. If left untreated, this issue could result in pain, difficulties chewing, tooth loss, and other potentially serious complications.

How Are Cavities Formed?

American Dental, a practice of dentists in Lincoln Park stresses to our followers and loyal patients that cavities are spaces or crevices that develop over several stages.

During the first phase, teeth are exposed to excessively sugary foods. These products stimulate the growth of tooth-demanding bacteria.

These pathogens produce acid. As the second phase of cavity formation commences, teeth are exposed to high acid concentrations.

Once the third phase begins, acid and bacteria combine to penetrate a tooth component known as dentin. This is the bony portion comprising the vast majority of a tooth’s mass.

This event progresses to pulp penetration. Pulp is an inner, softer tooth component. Once cavities enter this deeper region, they often become symptomatic and could result in complications like infections.

Associated Symptoms

In the early stages, our patients often do not experience any symptoms. However, as the disease process progresses, they may encounter occurrences such as:

  • Pain
  • Sensitivity to excessively cold or hot foods or beverages
  • Discernible holes or other visible tooth damage
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Discomfort worsens when one chews or speaks

When cavities grow exceptionally pronounced, bacterial accumulation could result in potentially serious ailments like dental abscesses.

Possible Treatment Options

The treatment we offer patients will vary depending upon the size of the cavity, its location, the patient’s general health, and if any other complications exist. That said, common treatment options include:

Fluoride Application

Early-stage cavities often benefit from fluoride application. Fluoride is a powerful element noted for its ability to strengthen and potentially restore lost tooth enamel.


More advanced tooth decay may require the insertion of dental equipment known as crowns. These objects are manmade materials designed to appear similar to a tooth’s natural crown. Typically, crowns are built out of durable materials such as:

  • Gold
  • Composite resins
  • Porcelain
  • Metal

Before crown insertion, the operating dental provider will remove as much of the diseased tooth as possible to prevent complications and ensure the device fits well.


Usually, fillings, which are also called restorations by industry professionals, are the most commonly employed treatment for moderate to more progressive decay. These items can be made out of a variety of materials.

Root Canals

In more severe progressions, we perform root canals. During this procedure, a damaged or diseased portion of a patient’s tooth is removed, the interior region is thoroughly cleaned, and the open space is replaced with some type of filling material.


When teeth are too diseased to be treated, extraction might be indicated. The gap left by a pulled tooth could be replaced using a bridge or dental implant.

Reaching Out To Us

We employ some of the finest dentists in Chicago who are not only skilled, experienced, and professional but are deeply committed to our community and patients. Additional information about us can be accessed by visiting our website. 

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