Do you think you have a cavity between your teeth? Are you worried about its potential consequences on your overall health? If so, don’t worry! You are not alone. Many people develop cavities between their teeth, also known as interproximal dental carries. In this article, we will discuss what to do if you have a cavity between your teeth and how to prevent cavities between your teeth in the future.
How do I develop a Cavity Between Teeth?
Cavities between teeth, also known as interproximal carries, are a type of tooth decay most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene.
Cavities on the surface of a tooth are most often caused by a lack of brushing on the tooth surface. On the other hand, cavities between teeth are most often caused by a lack of flossing. When you don’t floss, plaque and bacteria build up in between your teeth. This plaque and bacteria then begin to eat away at your tooth enamel, causing a cavity.
In addition, if you have large spaces between your teeth, food and bacteria can become trapped in these spaces. This can also lead to the development of cavities.
These cavities are typically easily avoidable with proper oral hygiene and should be prevented at all costs as the cost of fillings can far exceed the cost of preventing one.
How can I Prevent or Reminilarize Cavities Between Teeth?
Just because you have a cavity between your teeth does not mean that it needs to be treated by a dentist immediately. However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t see your dentist regularly or book an appointment if you suspect you have a cavity. Dentists will always be able to give you a more individualized report on the extent of the damage your cavity has caused.
The decision to treat a cavity between teeth usually depends on how deep the cavity has gone into your tooth. The tooth is broken down into three layers: enamel, dentin, and pulp. The enamel is the hardest layer and it covers the outside of your tooth. The dentin is the second layer and it is softer than enamel. The pulp is the innermost layer and it contains blood vessels and nerves of your teeth.
When you first develop a cavity, it only affects the enamel. At this stage, there is still a chance to remineralize or reverse the cavity. Once the cavity has reached the level of the dentin, typically a filling must be done. To help prevent and remineralize damage between your teeth before it reaches the dentin it is vital to:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flouride helps to remineralize your teeth and prevent cavities. Be sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth, including near the gum line, and pay attention to your back teeth. These are the most commonly missed spots
- Floss ATLEAST every day (But recommended twice a day). Flossing removes plaque and bacteria from between your teeth, helping to prevent cavities. Make sure to floss following the curve of your tooth, hugging its surface and going under the gumline.
How do I Know I have Cavities Between My Teeth?
The only way to know for sure if you have cavities between your teeth is to see a dentist. They will typically have an X-Ray performed to confirm whether or not you have a cavity between your teeth.
The sooner you see the dentist, the quicker they will be able to catch a cavity before it becomes too late and a more extreme procedure is required to save the tooth. This is why it is recommended to see a dentist regularly.
The biggest issue with knowing if you have cavities between your teeth is that people will typically not notice it until it has breached the dentin. At this point, a procedure is required.
However, there are some signs and symptoms that may indicate you have a cavity. These include:
- Sensitivity to sweets and sugar
- A toothache or pain when eating or drinking
- Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
What Happens if I Have a Cavity in Between My Teeth?
If you have a cavity between your teeth, depending on the severity of the damage, your dentist may recommend repairing the teeth through one of these procedures:
If the cavity is very small and has not reached the dentin, your dentist may recommend simply monitoring it for any changes. They will encourage you to continue brushing and flossing regularly and keeping up your oral hygiene in the hopes of remineralizing the area (reversing the cavity).
If the cavity has reached the dentin but is not yet at the pulp, your dentist will likely recommend a filling. A filling is a common procedure in which the dentist removes the decayed portion of the tooth and then fills it in with a material, such as an amalgam, composite resin, or gold. For a full list of dental filling costs, click here.
If the decay has reached the level of the pulp, a root canal will be required. A root canal is a more costly procedure in which the dentist removes the damaged pulp from the tooth. This is done by drilling into the tooth and then removing the pulp with specialized instruments. The tooth is then filled and sealed. For a full list of root canal costs, click here.
If the decay is severe and a root canal has been performed, a crown may be recommended. A crown is an artificial tooth that covers the entire tooth. It is typically made of porcelain, ceramic, or gold. For a breakdown of dental crown costs, click here.
In some cases, the decay may be so severe that the only option is to extract the tooth. This is typically a last resort and is only done when the tooth cannot be saved through any other means. These missing teeth can typically be replaced through dental implants, dentures, or bridges. For a full list of tooth extraction costs, click here.
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No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.