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Detecting and Preventing Cavities Between Your Teeth

August 11, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — parksidedental @ 7:41 pm
A woman in pain from cavities

Cavities, the bogymen of dentistry since you were a child. These black and brown pits that form in your teeth are the result of too many skipped oral care routines. Even if you are regularly brushing, you could be missing the spaces between your teeth.

Continue reading to learn more about cavities and how you can detect and prevent them from invading your mouth.

What Is a Cavity Exactly?

Cavities, also known as dental caries, are the smallest form of tooth decay. The outer layer of your teeth, the enamel, is hard and porous. When you chew food, the resulting particles can get wedged between your teeth, eventually forming plaque.

Plaque is a velvety film that reacts with enzymes in the food you eat to produce acid. This acid slowly seeps into the enamel and begins to eat away at it. Over time, this causes a small hole in the tooth.

How Do I Know if I Have a Cavity Between My Teeth?

Some cavities are obvious and form in areas you can see in the mirror when you smile. It’s much harder to detect them if they form in the spaces between teeth. However, it’s not impossible to tell.

Pain is the usual indicator of a cavity as untreated erosion can eventually find its way to the nerves of your teeth. However, there doesn’t always have to be pain present to indicate a cavity. It could be surface level, which is good as they are the easiest type of cavity to treat.

Here are some other early warning signs to watch for:

  • Tooth Sensitivity – If you’re eating or drinking something that’s hot or cold, you may feel a slight pain in your tooth.
  • Toothache – This pain is usually spontaneous. It suddenly appears out of nowhere and may be moderate to severe.
  • Deep Staining – If you see an intense black, brown, or white stain on the surface of a tooth, it may be from the effects of acid erosion.
  • Bite Pain – If you find chewing in a certain spot of your mouth is causing you pain, there may be a cavity present.
  • Your Floss Frays or Breaks – If you feel your floss snagging on your tooth or fraying. It may be due to a sharp edge created by a cavity.

How Do I Treat a Cavity?

If you’re in pain, the first steps to take would be flossing between the affected teeth and rinsing with warm salty water. Salt is a natural acid inhibitor, and the warmth of the water won’t trigger sensitivity pain.

Your next step should always be making an appointment to see your dentist. They have the training and equipment necessary to treat your cavities. If a cavity is surface level and early in development, they may be able to remineralize the tooth with fluoride.

Cavities that extend more than halfway into the enamel, however, must be cleaned with dental instruments before being filled with a special paste to harden.  If the cavity is too severe, your dentist may need to clean the decay and fit your tooth with a crown.

Don’t let interdental cavities go unnoticed. Regular dental checkups and maintaining a diligent oral hygiene routine are your best defenses against sneaky decay. By staying vigilant and working closely with your dentist, you can ensure a cavity-free smile and long-term oral health.

About the Author

Dr. John Moneyhun, a Greenwood native, warmly welcomes new and returning patients to Parkside Dental LLC. With a passion for dentistry and a commitment to patient well-being, he strives to exceed expectations. Dr. Moneyhun earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. His dedication to ongoing education and volunteer work showcases his desire to serve and give back to make a positive impact on his patient’s lives and the community. To schedule an appointment, call (864) 800-1691 or visit the website to learn more.

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