There’s a lot to learn about your oral health, but when it comes to decay, a cavity is a cavity, right? Not necessarily, says Dr. Robert Christensen, your dentist in Midland. There are actually three different types of cavities, and each one requires a slightly different treatment method. Keep reading to find out about cavities!
Most Common: Pit and Fissure Cavities
If you have had a cavity before, chances are good it was a pit and fissure cavity. This is the most common type of tooth decay, and it occurs on the chewing surface of the back teeth. Pits and fissures are the irregular surfaces that cover your molars, and imperfect dental hygiene practices (i.e. careless brushing and flossing) allow for the plaque, food particles, and bacterial buildup that leads to decay.
Less Common: Root Cavities
The root cavity isn’t as common as a pit and fissure cavity, but it affects older patients at a higher rate than anyone else. That’s because older adults are more likely to have receding gums and other periodontal problems that leave the tooth root exposed. A root isn’t covered in hard protective enamel like the visible portion of your tooth, so it’s unable to defend itself against decay.
Least Common: Smooth Surface Cavities
The least common type of cavity is that which occurs on the side of the tooth, or the smooth part of your enamel. Decay that forms here is very slow-growing, so it may be reversible with improved dental hygiene and topical fluoride treatments if it is detected in time. A smooth surface cavity, like a pit and fissure cavity, is usually the result of insufficient brushing and flossing. Children who eat lots of candy may be at a higher risk of developing smooth surface cavities. And if your child is in braces, the risk of cavities in and around the brackets is increased.
Dentist Recommends Prompt Treatment and Prevention
It is important to treat a cavity very soon after it is detected to prevent the spread of decay. A tooth-colored filling fills the cavity with a natural-looking composite resin, a biocompatible material that is customizable to match the shade of the surrounding tooth enamel. For more significant areas of decay, a root canal treatment may be necessary.
While we can provide an effective treatment for cavities, it’s better if they never develop at all. To keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay, remember that regular dental hygiene is crucial. Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, and floss daily. You can set an alarm or timer on your phone while brushing. Visit your dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months to ensure small spots of decay don’t spiral into large, significant cavities.
Questions? Talk to Us Today!
If you have questions about cavities, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for a six month checkup and cleaning, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our office. Request an appointment with your dentist in 79701 today!