Most people suffer from one type of cavity or another, at least once in their lifetime. A tooth cavity is a decay that appears on your tooth as a tiny hole. Several factors cause teeth cavities. These include bacteria, frequent snacking, indulging in sugary foods and drinks, or poor dental hygiene.
You have maybe heard of the myth ‘no pain no problem’; well, this is far from the truth. Waiting until you start experiencing some sort of pain means you are waiting for the cavity to get worse. Do not downplay even the tiniest of holes in your teeth as they act as a pathway for bacteria to get into your teeth. Once this happens, brushing teeth or flossing becomes a near-impossible task since the pain is unbearable.
Below are the major types of cavities along with various cavity treatment options:
1. Root Cavities
Also known as root caries or root cavities, this is the most common type of cavity, especially among older people. It forms on the root surface of your teeth and is not usually visible unless you have root decay. Among factors that contribute to root cavity include gum disease, receding gums, improper brushing, or old age.
To lower your chances of getting this type of cavity, properly brush your teeth after meals, drink enough water if you have a dry mouth, and avoid sugary foods. It is also essential to regularly have dental checkups to identify such cavities and have them treated before they get worse.
2. Pits and Fissures Cavities
Pits and fissures are the rough groves on the surface of your back teeth (molars). Due to the rough groves, it is often hard to keep the surfaces of your molars clean. This fosters a conducive environment for bacteria to collect, resulting in cavities. Since it spreads fast, treat this cavity as soon as it sets in. Your dentist can help prevent this decay by applying a dental sealant on the surface of your molars and premolars. You can also avoid these types of cavities by brushing your teeth thoroughly after meals.
3. Smooth Surface Cavities
These cavities form on the smooth flat exterior surface of your teeth. Although it is not common, if you fail to practice proper dental hygiene, you will most likely get it. The decay can be treated with the help of toothpaste or vanish. However, if it spreads into the enamel, you will need to have your affected tooth/ teeth re-filled.
4. Root Cavity Treatment
Your dentist will need to examine your teeth/tooth thoroughly, probably using an x-ray and in some cases a CT scan. If the root cavity is mild, your dentist will first remove any decay and put a filling in the cavity. Since this part of the tooth does not have a lot of protective enamel, the decay could easily spread fast. If it does and it gets to the pulp, you may have to undergo a root canal treatment. Hence, it is vital to ensure that you treat your cavities as soon as possible to avoid this eventuality.
5. Pits and Fissure Cavity Treatment
If the cavity is discovered in its early stages, there are various treatment options available. These are non-invasive methods such as oral hygiene advice, antibacterial treatments, or application of fluoride, and the micro-invasive methods such as sealing, and the minimally-invasive treatments that include sealant restoration.
However, if the cavity goes untreated for a long time, the dentist will have to remove the decay and put in fillings, crowns or root canals. A severe cavity cannot be treated using fillings as this treatment method is only effective for smaller cavities. In some instances, the tooth may be removed entirely and replaced with a dental implant procedure instead.
6. Smooth Surface Cavity Treatment
This is the easiest type of cavity to treat. At this point, your tooth is still intact but in danger of developing serious problems if simple preventive measures are not taken. Often, a tooth with this type of cavity only requires fluoride treatments such as varnishes, gels and toothpaste to heal.
If a smooth surface cavity is left untreated, it ‘eats’ through the enamel to the point where a filling becomes unavoidable. Sometimes the smooth surface cavity is in between teeth, a condition referred to as an interproximal cavity. To detect such a cavity, your dentist will have to use x-rays to determine the necessary treatment
Some cavities may go unnoticed for a very long time. When you notice them, apply treatment quickly before the damage spreads or becomes irreversible. The key to avoiding cavities is scheduling regular dental checkups, brushing your teeth thoroughly, flossing and eating healthy snacks to keep your teeth healthy at all times.
Should you experience tooth pain while eating or drinking, or for no apparent reason, pay your dentist a visit; you might end up saving money that you could have otherwise spent if you just sat there and did nothing. Remember, oral health is a vital part of overall health.