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Do All Cavities Need Fillings?

If your dentist detects cavities, they will offer to fill them in, even if they’re small. A dental filling is crucial to protect your mouth from further decay. If left untreated, your tooth will grow worse as the cavity deepens. 

Learn more about cavities and how they can negatively impact your dental health.

Cavities Explained

A cavity is a hole in the tooth, often the final result of tooth decay. These holes grow when dental plaque (food particles, bacteria, and minerals) grows on the tooth’s surface due to inadequate hygiene. The bacteria transform the sugar in food particles to acid, eating away at the tooth’s enamel. Minor, surface cavities can eventually extend into the deeper layers of your tooth. 

Discover why you must get your cavities filled in as soon as possible.

Can I Detect Cavities On My Own?

Cavities appear as a pale or dark spot then gradually decay into a yellow or brown color. Inspect your mouth with a mirror once a month to detect any tooth discoloration early on. Unfortunately, if you’re growing cavities between two teeth or the back of a tooth, you may not be able to detect them. 

We recommend you visit your dentist every six months for regular checkups. They can spot cavities in their early stages before they deteriorate your oral health. Your dentist will perform an oral radiograph to detect them. 

Early tooth decay is innocuous, so without a regular checkup, you won’t be able to tell you have a cavity until it begins to chip away at your tooth. Once a cavity reaches your tooth’s root, your teeth will become sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure. Furthermore, you will be at risk for developing a dental abscess; this will make it difficult to open your mouth.

The Varying Degrees of Cavity Treatment

The sooner you consult with your dentist, the higher the chance they can stop your tooth decay in its tracks before it becomes painful. If you receive treatment early, you might only need to undergo a simple fluoride treatment to restore your tooth’s enamel. 

However, if you’re experiencing sharp pain and sensitivity, you might need extensive treatment. Your dentist may recommend the following depending on the severity of your decay:

Mild cavities: Dentists and oral surgeons treat these cavities with fillings, also known as restorations. They will drill away the damaged tooth and fill in the defect with restorative materials that vary in strength and cost. 

Large cavities: You may require a crown. Your dentist or oral surgeon will drill into your natural crown and replace it with a covering.

Pulp cavities (severe damage): You may need to undergo a root canal. Your oral surgeon will remove the diseased pulp before inserting a filling. If the damage is too severe, you might need to undergo tooth extraction surgery. After this procedure, your oral surgeon will insert a dental implant into the gap. 

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah Is Here for You

Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day to prevent cavities. If your dentist believes you need oral surgery, you can contact the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah. We specialize in tooth extraction, dental implant insertion, bone grafting, corrective jaw surgery, and more. 

We’re still operating during this COVID-19 outbreak, and we’re taking extra measures to ensure our patients stay safe. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have.


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