Leaving cavities untreated can lead to serious health consequences.

Cavities, also known as tooth decay, present a significant health concern in the US, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With approximately one in four adults aged 20 to 64 affected by at least one cavity, it’s crucial to address this issue promptly. Untreated cavities can lead to pain and infections and even impact essential activities, such as eating, speaking, playing, and learning. In some cases, untreated cavities can result in severe abscesses under the gums that may spread throughout the body, potentially leading to severe and, albeit rare, fatal consequences. This article will shed light on the importance of filling even the smallest of cavities promptly.

But it’s only a small cavity…

At first glance, it may seem tempting to overlook or delay treatment for a small cavity, believing that it won’t worsen or cause significant harm. However, there are several crucial reasons why even the smallest  cavity should be treated promptly.

1. Dental enamel doesn’t regrow.

While enamel can harden and undergo remineralization during the early stages of demineralization, it’s important to note that once tooth decay progresses to the stage of a cavity, natural regeneration of enamel does not occur. And though some studies suggest certain products or treatments may aid in remineralization, they typically focus on preventing further demineralization rather than regrowth of enamel.

Once a cavity forms, it requires professional intervention and a filling to remove the decayed portion and restore the tooth’s structure. Thus, while proactive steps can be taken to promote enamel health, addressing cavities promptly with dental treatment is crucial to prevent further damage and preserve oral health.

2. A filling stops the decay from advancing.

When a cavity is filled, the decayed part of the tooth is removed, and the resulting hole is filled with a dental material, such as composite resin. This process stops the decay from progressing further and provides protection for the tooth. The filling acts as a barrier, preventing bacteria from causing more decay and restoring the tooth’s shape and function. It ensures long-lasting support and helps maintain the tooth’s health and functionality.

3. Fillings prevent the need for a root canal and a dental crown.

According to the American Academy of Endodontists, up to 15% of people in the US avoid getting the dental care they need because of misconceptions and fears. When people don’t see the dentist regularly, it can increase the risk of tooth decay developing. When that tooth decay is left untreated, it is more likely that you will need a root canal and dental crown. In fact, more than 41,000 root canals are performed each day.

Addressing a small cavity early on helps prevent more extensive and invasive treatments, such as root canals and dental crowns, which may be necessary if the decay progresses.

4. Prevents Tooth Infection

Untreated cavities pose a risk of tooth infections, which can result in severe pain and discomfort. When a cavity is left untreated, bacteria can penetrate the tooth’s inner layers, reaching the pulp where the nerves and blood vessels are located. This can lead to an infection within the tooth, causing symptoms such as persistent pain, sensitivity, swelling, and even abscess formation.

If a tooth infection is left untreated, it can spread beyond the tooth and into the surrounding tissues and bones. This condition, known as an abscess, can gradually progress over weeks or months. The infection can spread to other body areas through the bloodstream or directly affect nearby structures. As the infection progresses, it can lead to serious symptoms like high fever, difficulty breathing, trouble swallowing, and even life-threatening complications.

5. Regular preventive dental evaluations can help stop cavities in their tracks.

Regular dental check-ups are essential for detecting tooth decay in its earliest stages. At Great Miami Dental, we utilize advanced dental technology to aid in detecting cavities in their earliest stages, ensuring timely treatment and prevention of further damage.

Prevent Your Next Cavity: The Importance of Regular Preventive Dental Evaluations

Taking care of even the smallest cavities is essential for maintaining optimal oral health. Untreated cavities can lead to pain, infection, and extensive dental procedures. By promptly addressing cavities through fillings and regular dental check-ups, individuals can preserve their tooth structure, prevent complications, and enjoy a healthy smile for years.

Don’t delay in seeking dental care—schedule your appointment with your dentist near Springboro to ensure any potential cavities are addressed, and your oral health is well-maintained.