Plaque is the soft whitish-yellow substance sometimes found on teeth. It is made up of food and bacteria. If plaque is left on tooth structures for a long enough time period, the bacteria will start to eat the tooth structure, causing tooth decay or cavities. Cavities may arise:
1. In the grooves / fissures / chewing surfaces of teeth
2. In between the teeth
3. Along the margins of old fillings (requiring the replacement of the filling)
Cavities in both adult & baby teeth need to be fixed to avoid future pain & infection. Baby teeth with extensive decay and infection can adversely affect the development of the underlying adult teeth.
Cavities are usually fixed with white fillings, in a shade to match the existing tooth structure. Silver fillings are occasionally done, if requested by the patient, or deemed necessary by the dentist.
If the cavity is left to grow, it may infect the tooth’s nerve. This usually causes pain. To fix this a root canal or extraction may be necessary.