Before we look into the different types of cavities, it is more important that we know what, exactly, a cavity is. A cavity is an area of decay in the tooth that eventually develops into a tiny hole. If you don't treat a cavity, it will grow bigger and bigger, leading to nasty toothaches and, in the worst case scenario, the loss of your teeth.
Anyone can get cavities, but those that take lots of candy and sweet beverages are at an especially high risk. We can help you prevent cavities by giving fluoride treatments for them. When you pop into our office, we can also find the cavities by taking x-rays of your teeth. Once we find the cavity, there are a variety of treatment options we can try.
We can apply a filling to your tooth or a crown, if the cavity has spread to a large area, In case there has been an infection that has spread as a result of the cavity, we also use root canal surgery and the use of antibiotics to prevent the spread of the cavity.
There are three types of cavities, based on where they appear on the tooth: pit and fissure cavities, smooth surface cavities, and root cavities.
Pit and Fissure Cavities
Pit and Fissure cavities are the easiest to spot, as they develop on the chewing and biting surface of the tooth. They also appear in the grooves on your rearmost molars. These cavities are not only the easiest to spot, but also the fastest spreading as many people do not clean their chewing surfaces well enough.
Smooth Surface Cavities
Smooth surface cavities appear on the smooth surface on the side of the tooth or at the back or front of the tooth. These are the slowest developing cavities since the smooth surfaces of the teeth are protected by hard enamel. To find these cavities, however, we usually have to take an x-ray of your teeth, as they are often found in the spaces between teeth. They hardly form on the sides of teeth as those areas are often well cleaned when we brush our teeth. The best way to prevent smooth surface cavities is to floss regularly.
Root cavities form at the root of the teeth when the gum recedes. These are the most dangerous cavities because the root isn't protected by enamel and is therefore the easiest part of the tooth to infiltrate. Root cavities are detected with the use of x-rays and their treatment is often complex, especially if the cavity has grown. The best way to prevent root cavities is to pop in our office regularly for a dental checkup so we can find them and treat them before they become serious.
Cavities are best prevented by brushing and flossing regularly and visiting our office for a checkup as well. The longer they remain undetected, the harder it is to treat them, so don't spend too long before you pop in for a checkup.