Request an Appointment
Diagnosing Cavities

Diagnosing Cavities

Diagnosing Cavities

What is a cavity?

Decay is the active disease process that forms when acids in the mouth destroy tooth structure. These acids are produced by the bacteria in plaque, which is the sticky, colorless film that forms constantly on your teeth. Unless steps are taken to prevent this decay process, the acids slowly dissolve the tooth enamel, causing a cavity.

Untreated cavities cause further damage

When tooth structure has decayed, it is referred to as a cavity. It is important to remove the decay and restore the tooth structure. Treatment will stop the cavity from growing larger and weakening the tooth. It will also prevent bacteria from infecting the inner layers of the tooth, causing further damage to the tooth.

Finding cavities

Your dentist locates tooth decay by performing a thorough exam, which can include visual inspection and the use of a dental explorer, radiographs, and sometimes specialized equipment as well.

In some cases, we can see decay easily on the chewing surfaces of your teeth. To check for decay on the tops or chewing surfaces of your teeth, we may use a dental explorer, which sticks slightly when it touches decayed areas. For areas between the teeth, radiographs, also known as X-rays, are used. Appearing as a dark area, radiographs may show small or advanced decay inside a tooth, depending on how severe the area of decay is.

The biting surfaces of teeth can have deep pits and fissures where decay can be very difficult to find. We can use a special light that detects decay that is hiding in deep grooves and under the enamel. This light can also reveal changes in tooth structure that signal the start of a cavity.

Treating cavities

If we find a cavity in your tooth, we'll remove the decay and place a restoration. There are several types of restorations, including fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns. These can be fabricated from a variety of different dental materials. We'll talk with you about the best restoration for your situation. By treating decay as soon as possible, we can often prevent it from causing further damage and more extensive treatment in the future.

Patient Reviews

  • Dr. Rehder and the entire staff are friendly and compassionate. They accommodate my needs as a patient and treat me as a personal friend. Professionally, they provide the utmost care and advice, the patient always comes first. I can’t say enough positive comments about this practice.

    ~Review by Eileen S.

  • Dr. Rehder is very professional, yet not too serious as he is doing your teeth. He makes it relaxing and is able to keep your mind away from his work (I have never liked going to the dentist, but Dr. Rehder makes the experience as close to pleasant as a dentist visit can be).

    ~Review by Mary Ellen M.

  • Thank you Dr. Rehder and Christine for the "always exciting" and "never a dull moment" orthodontist appointment. See you in two weeks to do it all over again. Ok maybe-not ALL over again.

    ~Review by Elena C.

  • I had a great experience with Dr. Rehder. He is very informative and professional. All of the staff were so nice and helpful. My overall experience was one of the best I had with a dental office. I would definitely recommend people to come here.

    ~Review by Paulina C.

  • Professional staff. Makes you feel at ease, would highly recommend.

    ~Review by Diane S.

  • Always wonderful visits at Pinefield Dental. I've been a patient since the very early 90s. The staff is my extended family & takes care of my teeth with the utmost professionalism. This is my dental home.

    ~Review by Kenneth C.

  • The doctor and staff were wonderful. My experience is always great. The staff is very caring and always professional. The hours are very convenient as well. They will be able to accommodate anyone's schedule.

    ~Review by Amanda C.

  • Richard F. Gittleson, DDS Reviews No one likes/enjoys going to the dentist, but our dentist (Dr. Gittleson) and his staff are so pleasant they help relieve a patient fears.

    ~Review by Patricia L.

  • Highly recommended, I’ve been a patient since 1983.

    ~Review by Charles G.

  • Excellent.

    ~Review by Dom J.