What You Need To Know About Early Dental Cavities

Thanks to advances in dental technology, dentists have the ability to detect a cavity while it is still in an extremely early stage. Better x-rays and examination techniques are just a couple things your dentist may use to spot small cavities better. Check out a few things you need to know about early dental cavities and what you should do to treat them.

You Can Reverse Early Tooth Decay

In its beginning stages, the tooth decay associated with a cavity is just beginning to break down the enamel of your tooth. By catching this decay at such an early stage, your dentist can help you formulate a treatment plan to reverse the decay and restrengthen the enamel of your tooth. 

One option that your dentist may suggest to stop early tooth decay in its tracks is additional fluoride treatments. Your dentist may apply these treatments in office, or you may receive a prescription for fluoride-enriched toothpaste that will work to strengthen and repairs areas of tooth decay in your mouth.

Your dentist may advise that you come in for more frequent dental cleanings. Instead of having you come in every six months, your dentist may suggest that you come in every three or four months for a professional cleaning.

If you have poor dental habits, such as infrequent flossing, snacking all day, or an improper toothbrushing technique, your dentist will tell you how you can improve your at-home dental care.

It is Not Necessary to Immediately Fill Small Cavities

At the mention of a cavity, many patients falsely assume that this means the cavity requires a dental filling. This is not the case with extremely small cavities. Your dentist will likely recommend a "wait and see" approach to try to reverse the cavity with changes in your dental care. After a period (usually six months), your dentist will examine the cavity again and see if further treatment is necessary.

You may not feel comfortable with the idea of leaving a cavity in your mouth for such a long period. However, know that filling cavities comes with a different set of risks.

When you fill a cavity, your dentist must drill into the tooth to remove the decay and prep the tooth for its new filling. This can compromise the structural integrity of the tooth, causing it to potentially split or break in the future. Though the risk of this is small, your dentist does not want to weaken the structure of your tooth for a minute cavity that you can heal with other methods.

If your cavity is causing pain, your dentist will likely recommend that you fill it as soon as possible. Contact a dentist like Kyle J Frisinger DMD for more information and assistance.