Can Teeth Repair Themselves?
If you have a fear of the dentist or a tight schedule, it may be tempting to ignore tooth pain and hope that the problem goes away on its own. Although there are some minor instances when teeth can technically repair themselves, damaged teeth typically require professional dental restorations. At Lifetime Family Dental, we treat a wide range of dental problems with high quality services. Continue reading to learn when a tooth can repair itself, and when to see your dentist.
When Can Your Teeth Repair Themselves?
In some cases, your teeth can heal cavities in their earliest stages of development. To give your teeth the best chance of healing cavities on their own, you must consistently use fluoride toothpaste, eat a healthy diet, avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks, and maintain proper oral hygiene.
However, in most cases, even following all of the steps above will not be enough to reverse tooth decay and heal cavities. Additionally, your teeth have no way of repairing other types of damage, such as cracks, chips, or fractures.
Make an appointment with your dentist to prevent further damage to your teeth if you’re experiencing any of the following signs of tooth decay:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Visible holes or pits in your teeth
- Tooth discoloration
- Pain when biting down
How to Repair Tooth Damage
Your teeth can only repair cavities themselves when the cavities first begin to form, and then only under ideal conditions. Once the cavities break through your enamel and expose the dentin underneath, your teeth no longer have a chance of repairing themselves. The best way to heal a cavity at any stage is to get a filling.
When you get a filling, your dentist will clear out the damaged part of the tooth, then fill it in with composite resin that matches the shade of your tooth. The filling prevents harmful bacteria from reaching the sensitive interior of your tooth. However, it is possible for cavities to develop underneath a filling, so it’s essential that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily to prevent tooth decay.
The strong outer surface of your teeth, the enamel, protects the pulp, nerves, and blood vessels inside. The regular wear and tear of chewing can erode your tooth enamel, and so can acidic foods and beverages like citrus fruits, coffee, and soft drinks. Tooth grinding, nail-biting, chewing on hard objects, and brushing too hard can also wear down your enamel.
Enamel erosion makes your teeth extremely vulnerable to cavities and other damage. It can also lead to stains and sensitivity. Your mouth uses the minerals in saliva to strengthen enamel and prevent erosion, but your teeth can’t repair enamel erosion once the damage begins. Your dentist can help you build strong enamel with fluoride treatments, and restore weak enamel with dental bonding.
Injuries, tooth grinding, ice chewing, and hard foods can all cause chipped, cracked, broken, or fractured teeth. Cracked or otherwise broken teeth will not heal on their own, and they put your mouth at risk of infection if the damage penetrates the tooth enamel. Dentists can fix a broken tooth with bonding, a crown, contouring, fillings, a root canal, or veneers.
Your adult teeth do not grow back—if you lose a permanent tooth, it’s gone forever. The spaces left by missing teeth can make your other teeth shift positions and even cause deterioration in your jawbone. Missing teeth also expose the surfaces of the surrounding teeth to more bacteria, increasing your risk of tooth decay. If you have missing teeth, it’s important to get them replaced with dental implants, a bridge, or dentures as soon as possible.
Treating Tooth Damage in Gilbert, Arizona
If you have damaged teeth, don’t wait to see if they will repair themselves. Ignoring the problem will only lead to further tooth damage that will require more extensive and more costly treatments in the future. At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, we offer comprehensive dental services to repair and restore your damaged teeth. Give us a call at 480-558-4331 today to schedule an appointment.