When it comes to dental health, cavities are a common concern. Most adults will have a cavity at some point in their lives. Because cavities are small pits, some people don’t think twice about them. In fact, people sometimes avoid going to the dentist until a cavity causes pain. While they may seem minor, delaying treatment for cavities can have huge consequences for your oral health.
The Progression of Cavities: From Bad to Worse
Understanding how cavities progress can shed light on why quick treatment is vital. Cavities begin as small areas of tooth decay caused by bacteria and plaque. When you don’t remove plaque or food particles properly, they can break down your enamel.
Without treatment, cavities can progress through these stages:
Enamel Decay: Cavities start ruining the outer layer of your tooth, the enamel. At this stage, the decay may be painless. In fact, it may go unnoticed without a dental exam.
Dentin Decay: As the decay advances, it reaches the dentin, the sensitive layer beneath the enamel. This stage may cause sensitivity and discomfort, especially when consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods.
Pulp Infection: If left untreated, cavities can reach the inner layer of the tooth called the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. At this point, the decay can lead to severe pain, abscess formation, and potential tooth loss.
Avoiding Pain and Discomfort
One of the biggest reasons to treat cavities quickly is to avoid pain and discomfort. As cavities progress, they can cause toothaches, sensitivity, and even tooth abscesses. The longer the decay is left untreated, the more severe the pain can become. With treatment, you can reduce pain and prevent it from getting worse. This can allow you to enjoy a pain-free smile.
Preserving Natural Teeth
Treating cavities early can help preserve your natural teeth. When decay is caught in its early stages, removing and restoring the tooth with minimally invasive procedures is much easier. However, if left untreated, cavities can progress to a point where more extensive treatments like root canals or even tooth extractions may become necessary. You can save your natural teeth and maintain a healthy, complete smile.
Halting the Spread of Decay
Cavities are contagious in the sense that the bacteria that cause decay can spread to other teeth. If a cavity is left untreated, the bacteria can continue to attack nearby teeth. This can lead to other cavities and an increased risk of dental infections. Treating cavities quickly stops the decay in the affected tooth. It can prevent the spread of bacteria to other areas of your mouth.
Preserving Overall Oral Health
Having good oral health goes beyond having a smile without cavities. By treating cavities quickly, you protect the overall health of your mouth. Untreated cavities can lead to gum disease, bone loss, and even systemic health issues. Taking prompt action prevents further oral issues and improves your overall well-being. Don’t wait for your tooth decay to cause problems. Call your dentist when you notice the first signs. It is vital to reduce your chances of further dental concerns.