Worried That You Have A Cavity Between Your Teeth?

Did you know that over 90% of the American population has experienced at least one cavity in their permanent teeth? And even though most people brush and floss regularly, tooth decay still happens. While many factors contribute to tooth decay, neglecting your daily oral care routine is probably the biggest culprit. If you suspect that you have a cavity between your teeth, here’s what you should do next.

Common symptoms of cavities between teeth

When decay occurs between your teeth, it’s called an interproximal cavity. This type of cavity typically happens when food particles become trapped between your teeth and start eating away at the enamel (protective outer layer of your teeth). If left untreated, cavities can cause pain, discolor your teeth, and even lead to tooth loss.

Typically, you won’t be aware of this problem until the cavity penetrates the enamel and reaches the second layer of tissue, known as dentin.  Some of these symptoms include:

  • Tooth sensitivity – Sensitivity to cold temperatures or hot liquids
  • Discolored teeth – dark spots or holes
  • Toothache / tooth pain
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Bad breath
  • Swelling or tenderness in the jawbone area
  • Feel like there’s something stuck between your teeth

What to do if you have a cavity between molars

Dental visit

Cavities often occur between teeth due to poor oral hygiene. Depending on how well you care for your teeth, they can develop gradually or quickly. If you see a dentist about this issue, your dentist may recommend a dental bitewing x-ray. A digital x-ray image can help detect too small cavities to be seen with your naked eye.

If you have an interproximal cavity, there’s no reason to panic! Your dentist will take a look and determine whether treatment is necessary. If a dental cavity is detected early enough, it can be recalcified with fluoride gel, which will help prevent the decay from spreading. If the cavity isn’t too deep, your dentist may suggest one of several different treatments to help restore your teeth. If left untreated, cavities can cause pain, tooth abscess, swelling, sensitivity, and even lead to tooth loss. 

How Does A Dentist Treat Cavities Between Teeth?

Depending on the severity of the cavity, here are some treatment solutions to interproximal cavity.

Dental filling:  When a cavity extends more than halfway into the enamel, a composite filling can restore the tooth to its normal shape and function.

Root canal:  For a severe cavity that is deep enough to reach the tooth’s pulp, a dentist may perform root canal therapy to clean out and kill bacteria in the infected tissue. The dentist will then fill and strengthen the tooth with a biocompatible material.

Crown: When tooth decay has progressed to a more severe level, a dental crown can be used to cap the entire visible portion of your tooth. This strengthens and protects it while preserving the beauty of your smile.

Tooth extraction:  If the tooth is beyond repair and causing pain, your dentist may remove it. This will relieve your pain and prevent infection. You can replace your missing tooth with a bridge, dental implant or partial denture.

Why Are Cavities Between Molars Harder To Prevent?

Cavities are hard to avoid because no matter how much we brush our teeth, there is always some area where food debris gets stuck. When food debris is not removed, it causes dental plaque to form. Plaque is a sticky mixture of food particles and saliva that collects on your teeth when you eat. The bacteria in the mouth will feed on the debris; if that is not removed, it will turn into tartar.

Tartar causes gums to recede and creates spaces between teeth called periodontal pockets. These pockets act like mini storage units for harmful bacteria. Over time, the bacteria multiply and cause decay. If a cavity forms in one of these pockets, it becomes harder to treat.

Even though most people know that flossing helps prevent tooth decay, many still don’t do it enough. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, less than half of Americans floss once per day. Flossing removes plaque and prevents tooth decay by cleaning the spaces between teeth and along the chewing surfaces.

How to Prevent Cavities

Cavity prevention is one of the best ways to keep your smile healthy. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of how easy cavities are to prevent. In fact, most cavities are caused by poor dental hygiene habits. If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to preventing tooth decay with healthy habits.

1. Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day For Two Minutes Each Time
Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste helps to remove plaque and bacteria from your mouth. This prevents cavities because plaque buildup contains acid that eats away at tooth enamel. Brushing also removes debris from between your teeth that could otherwise cause cavities. How long do you spend brushing your teeth? Most adults spend about one minute per brushing session. However, experts recommend spending two minutes per session. You should begin by brushing your front teeth, moving down to your molars, and finishing up with your tongue. Then, repeat the process on the opposite side of your mouth.

2. Use An Electric Toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes provide several benefits over manual brushes. They are able to reach areas that manual brushes cannot, such as under your gums and along your jawline. Additionally, electric brushes help reduce the risk of gum disease since there is less pressure applied to your gums. 

3. Floss Once Per Day
Flossing is another critical step in maintaining good oral health. Studies show that flossing reduces the amount of plaque build-up around your teeth by almost 50%. Experts recommend flossing every day. But what type of floss should you use? There are four basic types of floss: waxed, unwaxed, superfloss, and dental picks. Waxed floss provides the strongest grip on your teeth. Unwaxed floss works better with braces, while superfloss is great for those with sensitive gums. Dental picks work well for those with small spaces between their teeth. Once you’re done with flossing, don’t forget to use mouth rinse.

4. Eat healthy food
To reduce your risk of developing cavities, limit your consumption of sugary drinks and sugary foods. Try to eat three meals and one snack each day that don’t contain added sugars, such as candy, soda, fruit juice, granola bars, cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream, and yogurt. Choose healthier options such as vegetables and fresh fruit to increase saliva flow, which is beneficial for good oral hygiene.

Avoid eating too much acid or sour foods because they erode tooth enamel. Foods high in acid include tomatoes, citrus juices, pickles, vinegar, coffee, tea, cola beverages, wine, beer, and sports drinks. If you consume these foods, rinse your mouth immediately afterward with water.

Common questions about cavity between teeth

Cavity fillings are a common procedure where most people experience no discomfort during cavity-filling procedures.

There’s no way to predict how fast a cavity will destroy a tooth. In most cases, severe damage occurs because of years of neglecting the root cause of decay: plaque and bacteria buildup. Fortunately, proper dental oral hygiene and regular dental checkups can save a tooth before it ever gets this bad.

 If you practice good oral hygiene by brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly, you may be able to reverse cavities in their early stages. However, if a cavity has already progressed past this stage and into the deeper layers of your tooth enamel, your dentist will need to treat it before it gets worse.

Cavities, or tooth decay, can sometimes be the cause of a black spot on your molar teeth. Talk to your dentist to find out more.

Sloan Creek Dental is here for you

As your local family dentist near the Allen and Fairview area, we are here to help you with any questions or concerns that you might have about keeping your smile healthy. If you want to learn more about your dental health, dental cleanings, or how to decrease the risk of cavities, feel free to contact us for a consultation appointment, and we’ll be happy to help with your smile goals. To schedule your appointment, contact Sloan Creek Dental, and our friendly staff will be happy to assist you. You can reach us at our Fairview, TX dental office to schedule an in-person consultation with us today – 972-468-1440

Our dental office is located in Fairview, Texas, and our patients visit us from across the surrounding areas, including Allen, Plano, McKinney, and Lucas.