Cavity Between Teeth: Your Complete Guide
Are you feeling an odd, persistent ache in your mouth or finding unexpected sensitivity to your favorite hot or cold treats?
These could be signs that you’re dealing with a cavity between your teeth. Also known as interproximal or interdental cavities, they develop in the tight spaces between adjacent teeth that are difficult to clean with regular brushing.
They can also be challenging to spot and may not cause noticeable symptoms. This article will cover the common signs of cavities between teeth, examine the potential causes behind their formation, and guide you through the diagnostic procedures and diverse treatment options available.
What is a cavity?
A cavity, or tooth decay, is a permanently damaged area in the hard surface of your teeth.
It develops into tiny openings or holes, causing many problems if left untreated.
The anatomy of a tooth
Understanding tooth anatomy can help you comprehend how cavities form.
Your tooth comprises three layers:
- The outer enamel
- Middle dentin
- Inner pulp
Cavities start in the enamel and can spread to deeper layers if ignored.
Causes of cavities
- Poor oral hygiene: The main culprit for cavities is neglecting oral care. Not brushing or flossing regularly allows bacteria to feast on food particles left in your mouth, leading to plaque buildup and cavities.
- High sugar diet: Love sugary treats? Beware! Consuming excessive sugar contributes to cavity formation, as the bacteria in your mouth convert these sugars into harmful acids.
- Lack of fluoride: Fluoride strengthens your teeth and prevents cavities. Thus, a lack of it in your daily oral care routine can make you more susceptible to dental decay.
Symptoms of cavities between teeth
- Toothache: Unexplained, persistent toothache can indicate a hidden cavity, especially between teeth.
- Sensitivity: If your teeth hurt when eating or drinking something hot, cold, sweet, or sour, you might have a cavity.
- Visible holes or pits: Sometimes, you might see or feel the cavity on your tooth.
Diagnosis and treatment of cavities
Treatment depends on the severity of the cavity:
- Fillings: These are the most common treatment for small to medium-sized cavities.
- Crowns: For larger cavities, your dentist might suggest a crown to replace the decayed part of the tooth.
- Root canals: In severe cases, when the cavity has reached the inner pulp, a root canal might be necessary to remove the infected tissue.
Preventing cavities is easier than treating them:
- Brush and floss regularly
- Limit sugary foods and drinks
- Ensure your toothpaste contains fluoride
Regular dental checkups are a must too!
Can a cavity between teeth heal on its own?
No, cavities can’t heal by themselves. They require professional dental treatment.
Can I prevent cavities even if they run in my family?
Yes, despite a genetic predisposition, maintaining good oral hygiene can significantly reduce your risk of cavities.
Are cavities between teeth more common in adults or children?
They can occur at any age, but children and seniors are more susceptible because of inadequate oral hygiene and dry mouths.
Can I still get cavities if I brush and floss regularly?
Yes, even with proper hygiene, you can get cavities. Regular dental checkups help identify and treat cavities early.
How often should I visit a dentist for a checkup?
You should see your dentist every six months for routine cleanings and examinations or if you experience pain or sensitivity.
Dealing with a cavity between teeth can be painful and inconvenient. Early detection and prompt treatment of interproximal cavities will help prevent further damage to your teeth.
Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options and practicing good oral hygiene can help keep your smile cavity-free.
So, why wait?