Small Cavity: Signs, Risks, Prevention and Treatments
There is no doubt that many people are afraid to visit the dentist because they’re worried about finding small cavity that require drilling.
The truth is that the more often you visit your dentist, the faster the dentist will spot tiny cavities that might not even require to be filled. The extent of the tooth’s decay can determine if you’ll need the small cavities filled.
What are Cavities?
Cavities are permanently damaged areas within the hard surface of your teeth. They transform into tiny gaps or holes.
Cavities, also known as caries or tooth decay, result from a mix of causes, such as bacteria in your mouth, regular snacking, drinking sweet drinks, and not washing your teeth regularly.
What Happens to the Tiny Cavities as Time Passes
Small cavities that are limited to enamel, that’s what we call “decalcification,” can be treated with proper dental health (brushing and flossing) and fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash.
Fluoride varnish may also be recommended by your dentist. It comprises a chalky fluoride compound applied to your teeth during the dental office. Although the cavity may be small, it’s reversible, which means that the fluoride present in mouth rinse and toothpaste can restore your tooth’s enamel.
Dentist will determine if your tooth can be small enough for them to “watch” and “remineralize” over time.
Signs of Cavities
The symptoms and signs of cavities can vary based on size and location. When a small cavity is only starting, you might not experience any symptoms.
As the small cavity gets bigger, the decay can trigger symptoms and signs such as:
- Pain in the mouth, pain that is not apparent, or pain that manifests without any obvious cause
- Tooth sensitive
- Sharp pain that is mild to moderate when drinking or eating something sweet, cold, or hot
- Pits or visible holes in your teeth
- Experiencing headaches every day due to wisdom teeth
- White, black, or brown staining on any surface of teeth
- The pain when you bite into
Cavities Risk Factors
Every person with teeth is at risk of developing cavities.
However, these factors could increase your chances of getting cavities:
- Tooth place: It is most common for decay to occur on the rear teeth (molars and premolars). They’re full of pits, grooves, places, and numerous roots that can hold food particles. They’re more difficult to keep free of plaque than your smoother and more easily-accessible front teeth.
- Certain beverages and foods: Certain foods and drinks stick onto your tooth for a prolonged duration — like dairy, ice cream, sugar, honey soda, dried fruits, cakes, hard candy, cookies, mints, dry cereals, and chips much more likely to cause tooth decay as opposed to foods that can be easily eliminated by saliva.
- Drinking and snacking frequently: If you regularly drink or snack on sugary drinks and food items, you provide oral bacteria the fuel they need to create acids that damage your teeth and cause them to wear down.
- Lack of brushing: If you don’t brush your teeth immediately after you’ve eaten or drunk the food, plaque will build up quickly, and the beginning stages of decay may start.
Lacking Enough Fluoride
- Fluoride, a natural mineral, can help prevent tooth decay and even reverse the first stages of tooth decay. Because of its positive effects on teeth, fluoride is added to numerous water supplies for public use. It’s also an ingredient in mouthwash and toothpaste. However, bottled water doesn’t contain fluoride.
- Dry mouth: Certain medicines, certain medical illnesses, radiation applied to your neck or head, or specific chemotherapy drugs may increase the risk of developing cavities due to a decrease in saliva production.
- Worn fillings or dental devices: As time passes, dental fillings will weaken, disintegrate, or create rough edges. Dental appliances can become unfit well, which allows decay to start under them.
- Heartburn: Stomach acid or gastroesophageal respiratory disorder (GERD) can trigger stomach acid to enter the mouth (reflux) and wear off the tooth’s enamel. It can cause severe tooth damage. That can expose more dentin to attack from bacteria, causing tooth decay. Your dentist should consult with your physician to determine if reflux gastric is the reason for the enamel loss.
Treatments for a Small Cavity
- Inlays or Onlays
- Root Canals
When tooth cavities are present, the damage is irreparable. There are ways to avoid the accumulation of plaque that causes tooth decay.
Some tips for prevention include:
- Using mouthwashes and toothpaste which contain fluoride
- The dentist should be cleaned twice each day using circular motions
- Gently brushing your gums
- Using interdental cleaners, such as floss, to fill in the gaps between teeth
- Avoid eating and drinking foods and beverages high in sugar, like fizzy drinks, especially ones with no nutritional significance
- Limiting the consumption of starchy food items
- Avoid snacking during meals or before bed
- Avoiding smoking products containing tobacco
- Drinking alcohol in moderation
- Regularly scheduled checkups with your dentist
There is also a possibility of reversing tooth decay at the beginning stages.
If you treat the problem promptly, you can easily eliminate almost all types of small cavities in teeth.
However, costly and long-lasting treatments are often essential if treatment is not completed. There’s also the risk of suffering from pain and infection.
That is why it’s crucial to have regular dental exams to identify any undiscovered problems before they become more costly dental issues.