Can a Cavity Go Away? Why Cavities Need to Be Treated ASAP

Cropped shot of an younger woman experiencing a toothache

Cropped shot of a young woman experiencing a toothache

It’s a common misconception that once a cavity has developed, it’ll just disappear on its own. Even if cavities are caught very early on, they still require dedicated brushing, flossing, and exposure to fluoride for reversal. Our Hudsonville, MI, dentists want anyone experiencing a cavity to seek treatment ASAP to avoid any unnecessary pain or tooth damage.

Here’s why cavities should be treated once they’re discovered and how you can prevent them altogether.

Stages of Tooth Decay

Did you know that there are 5 distinct stages that tooth decay goes through that contribute to the development of a cavity? Each stage is characterized by changes in appearance and or sensations felt.

The main stages of tooth decay are as follows:

  1. Demineralization: In this stage, the tooth enamel is exposed to acids from bacteria that have interacted with sugars and starches.
  2. Enamel Decay: The enamel is continuing to break down and cavities can form in teeth.
  3. Dentin Decay: During the 3rd stage, the decay has reached the dentin layer of the tooth underneath the enamel. Once decay spreads to this soft tissue, pain can occur.
  4. Pulp Decay: This major stage of decay occurs when the cavity reaches the pulp. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels in the tooth. Decay here can cause extreme inflammation.
  5. Dental Abscesses: When the bacteria inside the cavity spreads beneath the pulp and forms a pocket of pus, you have a dental abscess. Abscesses are often very painful, but some can go unnoticed.

Reversal of Early Cavities

The only time in which cavities can be reversed is in the early stages of demineralization. Dedicated oral hygiene is critical to restoring lost minerals in your teeth and stopping decay from progressing.

Learn MoreOral Hygiene Routine for Healthy Teeth

Unfortunately, many do not catch cavities at this stage, and they pass the point of no return. Once bacteria and decay get through enamel, enough damage has already been done. A cavity is not going to stop once it’s started. It will require a filling or some other form of treatment.

Our dentists urge you to call our Hudsonville, MI, dental office if you are experiencing any symptoms of a cavity. This can include increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and pain when chewing or biting down. If a cavity is neglected, it can develop into a much more serious complication.

Necessary Treatment Options

There are several ways that our dentists can approach cavity treatment. The severity of the decay often determines whether a more intensive solution is required. It is never wise to let a cavity sit. If left untreated, the spread of the decay will worsen and could lead to tooth extraction.

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When the cavity is small to medium in size, a dental filling will suffice. Our dentists will use tooth-colored composite resin to fill the cavity and closely match your natural enamel. This is the traditional way to treat smaller cavities, but other methods may have to be implemented if it is larger.

Other procedures used to treat cavities include:

Our dentists will examine the affected tooth to check how deep the decay has gone. Their findings will then influence what treatment option is best for you and your oral health.

Preventing the Formation of Cavities

Obviously, the best situation to be in is one where you have no cavities. You can prevent cavities by following an oral hygiene routine every day. That means brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, and using a fluoride mouthwash.

It’s most beneficial if you brush your teeth for two minutes in the morning and at night. Be sure to also use a toothpaste that contains fluoride for extra protection against plaque buildup. Make your at-home cleanings even better by angling the brush at a 45-degree angle so both your gums and teeth are brushed.

Aside from brushing and flossing, try to limit your exposure to overly starchy or sugary foods if you can. Foods of this type heavily contribute to tooth decay and require that you thoroughly brush after consuming them.

Our dentists also encourage you to visit our office for a professional teeth cleaningevery 6 months or as often as directed. During these appointments, we will take note of any arising issues and clean hardened tartar off teeth that otherwise, is difficult to remove at home.

Practice Dental Hygiene Now for a Healthier Future

Cavities require immediate attention from our dentists in Hudsonville, MI. Delaying treatment, though it is tempting, can result in further tooth decay and more involved procedures. At-home oral care paired with regular teeth cleanings can help prevent cavities altogether. Call Hudsonville Dental at (616) 209-4024 to schedule an appointment today.

This blog post has been updated.