College of Dentistry Patient Care: Cavities

Cavities are caused by specific types of harmful germs that live in your mouth.  These bacteria produce a strong acid when you eat sugary foods.  The acid removes minerals from the tooth surface.  The progressive loss of minerals will eventually produce a hole in your tooth.

Some cavities that are just starting can be reversed without placing fillings.  If the damage to the tooth is irreversible, the dentist must place a filling in order to replace the diseased or weakened tooth structure.

It is important to understand that fillings are not a "cure" for cavities.  Without proper home care, the same bacteria that produced the cavity in the first place may affect the tooth after a filling is placed.  The goal of modern dentistry is to reduce the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth so that cavities will not occur.

Your tooth may become painful during the later stages of the decay process.  That is why it is important to get regular dental check ups and treatment. Avoiding cavities and taking care of small ones before they become large will help to preserve your dental health for your whole life.

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Patient Care General Information

875 Union Avenue
C-209 Dunn Building
Memphis, Tennessee 38163
Phone: 901-448-6468
Fax: 901-448-2671