Did you know that tooth decay is almost 100% preventable? However, 92% of adults have had at least one cavity. Most occur on the chewing surfaces of molars because cavity-causing bacteria can get trapped in the crevices, but that’s not the only area where decay can develop. A cavity can also form between two teeth, which can make them difficult to detect. Here’s how to spot the signs of an interproximal cavity.
Identifying Cavities Between Teeth
An interproximal cavity occurs between two teeth when enamel is lost, allowing bacteria to stick to the tooth. Decay in the difficult-to-reach area can go undetected without regular dental appointments. You may not develop any symptoms until decay reaches the layer of your tooth called the dentin, which is below your enamel. You may experience tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking anything hot or cold. Inhaling cold air through your mouth or sweets can also trigger discomfort. Your dentist can spot decay between your teeth using a bitewing X-ray during regular preventive appointments. Routine dental care will stop a small issue from turning into a big problem.
Treating Interproximal Cavities
If you have a cavity between two teeth, you have multiple treatment options, depending on your situation. Common solutions to treat interproximal decay include:
- Recalcification: If found early, enamel loss can be treated with fluoride gel to prevent erosion from worsening.
- Filling: If decay reaches deep into the enamel or affects the dentin, a filling can fix the cavity. Tooth-colored material will blend in with your enamel, so no one will know it is there.
- Root Canal: Decay can reach the innermost layer of the tooth, called the pulp. It can cause a painful infection that can only be resolved using root canal therapy. The inner layer of the tooth is extracted and sealed with a special material called gutta-percha.
- Crown: A crown may be needed to treat large areas of decay or after a root canal. It will cover the entire surface of a tooth above the gum line.
- Extraction: Not all decayed teeth can be saved. If treatment is delayed for too long, extracting the tooth may be the only option.
Preventing Cavities Between Teeth
You can help promote a cavity-free smile by following a few tips:
- Brush and Floss Your Teeth: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush at least twice daily for 2 minutes each session. Floss between your teeth and around the gum line every day.
- Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks: Moderate your consumption of sugary and starchy foods or drinks.
- Visit Your Dentist Regularly: Schedule a cleaning and checkup every 6 months.
Your smile doesn’t need to be a victim of decay. Give your mouth the attention it deserves to ensure your teeth stay strong and healthy for a lifetime.
About Dr. Travis Rottman
Dr. Rottman earned his dental degree from the Texas A&M Baylor College of Dentistry and has regularly pursued continuing education in various specialties, including general dentistry. He strives to provide the most up-to-date services. Request an appointment through our website or call (469) 757-9942.