Cavity Between Teeth

A cavity between teeth is a hole that develops between your tooth enamel and the tooth’s dentin (bony tissue underneath). Cavities don’t usually cause pain or other symptoms until they reach the dentin layer, so it can be tricky to spot them.

Early detection of cavities between teeth typically happens during dental checkups using bitewing X-rays. If a dentist sees dark spots or patches of decay on the tooth’s surface, they may recommend a filling.

Causes

Cavities occur when bacteria in your mouth feed on sugary, starchy foods and drinks (like fruit, candy, bread, cereal, sodas, juice and milk). They convert these carbohydrates into acids that wear down tooth enamel.

Once this acid starts eating through the hard outer layer of your teeth, it can move onto the next layer of tooth material: dentin. When the decay reaches this layer, it can cause pain.

A cavity can be very painful when it reaches the pulp, which is located at the center of your teeth and contains nerves and blood vessels. The pain may become constant or recurrent.

Your dentist can diagnose and treat cavities between your teeth. He or she will determine what type of treatment is best for you based on the severity and location of the cavity.

Symptoms

Tooth pain is one of the most common symptoms that a cavity between teeth is developing. This ache can be quite sharp and may come on suddenly or gradually as you chew food.

cavity between teeth

A toothache that persists after you brush your teeth is a warning sign that the decay is getting worse and needs treatment. If left untreated, the bacteria that make cavities can spread to your nerve tissue.

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This is an extremely serious problem that could lead to a life-threatening condition known as septicemia, which can involve widespread inflammation and organ failure.

Sensitivity: The second layer of your teeth called dentin contains lots of microscopic little hollow tubes. Cavities can penetrate through the enamel to reach this tissue, causing increased sensitivity when you eat something hot or cold.

If the cavity has reached this tissue, your dentist will need to perform root canal therapy to clean out the infected tissue, then fill it with a biocompatible material to strengthen and protect the tooth. This can be done in several ways, including a dental filling or crown.

Treatment

Cavities between teeth (interproximal cavities) are common and can be treated using various treatment options. These include fillings, root canals or crowns.

Initially, the cavity begins as tiny white spots on your tooth due to the breakdown of minerals in your enamel. Eventually, these spots turn into brownish or black areas.

If left untreated, these spots can progress to deeper layers of your tooth and affect the dentin that lies beneath the enamel. The dentin is softer than your enamel and bacteria can break it down more quickly.

cavity between teeth

Once it reaches the dentin, bacteria will eat away at your tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. This can be very painful.

The most effective way to prevent cavities is by brushing twice a day with an antibacterial toothpaste and flossing at least once a day. Eating a healthy diet can also help.

Prevention

Cavities can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene habits and eating a healthy diet that is low in sugar. Regular dental checkups are also important to catch tooth decay before it spreads.

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Tooth enamel protects your teeth from bacteria and acid that cause cavities. This hard layer is made of minerals, including calcium and phosphate. As your teeth lose these minerals in a process called demineralization, they become weaker and more susceptible to cavities.

When you eat and drink, your saliva picks up these minerals to replace the minerals your teeth have lost. However, the process of demineralization can’t always be stopped.

cavity between teeth

Bacteria in your mouth will break down the food particles and carbohydrates that you eat into acids that destroy your tooth enamel. This process can happen in any area of your teeth, but it’s especially likely to occur in tight spaces between your teeth. These areas are called interproximal cavities and can be harder to detect visually than cavities on other surfaces of your teeth.

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