Alan G. Stern, DDS, a dentist in Ocean Township, N.J., whose wellness-centric practice focuses on restorative, cosmetic, and preventive dentistry along with the treatment of sleep breathing disorders, wants you to know that you don't have to live in fear of cavities.
"In our office, we are working together for wellness. That’s why we’ve introduced the CAMBRA program. CAMBRA stands for CAries (cavity) Management BY Risk Assessment. We now have the ability to test for your risk of cavities. If your risk is high, we can even put you on a mouth rinse program that’s proven to dramatically reduce your risk of getting cavities," says Dr. Stern.
Another issue he notes is how many myths there are about cavities.
Here, just in time for Halloween, Dr. Stern sets the record straight:
Myth: Cavities in baby teeth are no big deal.
Truth: While it’s true that baby teeth are only there temporarily, you still want to have these cavities filled. Otherwise, a child could experience pain and infection, which has the potential to spread.
Myth: Only kids get cavities.
Truth: While it may seem like kids are more susceptible to cavities, adults are at risk, too. Cavities can easily develop around old fillings that have become weakened over time, and receding gums can expose more of the tooth to possible decay.
Myth: You’ll always see or feel a cavity.
Truth: Small cavities aren’t painful—but they can turn into bigger cavities that infect the nerve inside your tooth and destroy tooth structure, causing pain, expensive treatment, or tooth loss! That’s why it’s important to visit the dentist regularly, so that you can fill any cavity- or deal with any other small problem- before it becomes a big problem.
Myth: Fillings always need to be replaced.
Truth: While it’s true that nothing lasts forever, you can significantly extend the life of your filling by practicing good oral hygiene. Brush and floss regularly to keep your fillings intact as long as possible. Also, the type of material you choose for your filling can make a difference. Laboratory made porcelain or gold inlays cost more, but they will last much longer than fillings. The less a filling needs to be replaced, the better for your tooth and your wallet.
Myth: If your tooth hurts, you definitely have a cavity.
Truth: If you feel pain, it could be due to a cavity, but it’s also possible that you have a cracked tooth, an exposed root or just sensitive teeth. Since the pain could signal something serious, you should have it checked out.
Myth: I have soft teeth.
Truth: Enamel—the outer part of the tooth—is the hardest substance in the human body; it’s even harder than bones!
For more tooth truths, go to www.alansterndds.com.