Regular dental checkups are needed to detect cavities early. If pain and swelling have developed, it means the cavity has progressed to tooth pulp and complications have set in. You may then need a root canal treatment (RCT) and may lose the tooth eventually. It is recommended to get dental check up every six months.
Once a cavity develops, the primary treatment is drilling and filling. If the cavity is very deep, a temporary filling can be done and left in place for six to eight weeks in the hope that the tooth will itself begin to produce restorative dentin. If no improvement is seen permanent filling is done. Permanent fillings can be made of many materials. The most common is amalgam, a combination of silver, tin, copper and mercury. A well-done filling can last any where from 15 to 40 years. Fears about mercury poisoning have resulted in the use of other materials like porcelain and colorless resins . But these materials tend to harden, soften, shrink or expand when exposed to heat or cold. They do not last as long as amalgam does. If the tooth is badly damaged, a root canal treatment may have to be done and a crown fashioned of porcelain or gold fitted in the tooth.
Dental caries is preventable with care, time and effort, the following can be done to prevent dental caries:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day to prevent buildup of plaque. Electric toothbrushes are useful, but a soft toothbrush used for three to four minutes is equally effective.
Use a toothpaste containing fluoride. A small quantity of fluoride containing paste is sufficient. Excess paste with fluoride may itself damage the tooth enamel.
Floss at least once a day to remove food debris that may be stuck between teeth.
Rinse your mouth after every meal thoroughly.
Do not put children to sleep with milk bottles in their mouth.
Have regular dental check-up, at least twice a year. If cracks and fissures are detected in the enamel, they can be sealed with dental sealants.
Avoid colas and unhealthy snacks.
Follow the guidelines given here and remain free from dental caries. Prevention of dental caries is not difficult, it only needs regular care.