Can You Stop a Cavity Once It Starts?

Cavity treatment Ann Arbor MI dentists

A cavity is literally a hole in your tooth so of course if there was a way to reverse it, you’d want to know. Unfortunately, unless your cavity is very early and has not progressed beyond the demineralization stage, you’re looking at a filling or other form of treatment. In the meantime, our Ann Arbor, MI, dentists recommend you commit to your oral hygiene.

Here’s what you need to know about cavities and a few steps you can take to put a pause on decay development.

Cavity Symptoms & Stages

Depending on how far along your cavity is and where it is exactly, the symptoms could vary. For instance, a small cavity may not result in any symptoms whatsoever. One that has reached the inner portion of the tooth, however, will be more painful and may require a root canal or tooth extraction.

Other indications of a cavity include:

  • Pain when biting down
  • Toothache or out-of-the-blue tooth pain
  • Sensitive teeth that react to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages
  • Pits or holes in your teeth that are clearly visible
  • Staining on any surface of tooth that is brown, black, or white

Learn MoreSensitive Teeth: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Did you know that there are 5 separate stages that tooth decay goes through that contribute to the development of a cavity? Each stage is characterized by changes in appearance and or sensations felt.

Tooth decay progresses through the following stages:

  1. Demineralization: In this stage, tooth enamel is exposed to acids from bacteria that have interacted with sugars and starches.
  2. Enamel Decay: The enamel is continuing to break down and cavities can form.
  3. Dentin Decay: The decay has now reached the dentin layer of the tooth underneath the enamel. Once decay spreads to this soft tissue, pain can occur.
  4. Pulp Decay: This major stage of decay occurs when the cavity reaches the pulp. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels in the tooth. Decay here can cause extreme inflammation.
  5. Dental Abscesses: When the bacteria inside the cavity spreads beneath the pulp and forms a pocket of pus, you have a dental abscess. Abscesses are often very painful, but some can go unnoticed.

Prevent Worsening Decay By:

1) Brushing and Flossing Regularly

In reality, you should already be practicing these two habits every single day. That’s at least twice a day for brushing your teeth and once daily for flossing. If you haven’t yet adopted a dependable oral care routine, now’s the time if you want to prevent any more cavities.

Related PostHow to Boost Your Oral Hygiene Routine

Though brushing won’t reverse an active cavity, our dentists recommend carefully cleaning the area to remove any leftover food bits. Also, make sure you’ve contacted our Ann Arbor dental office so we know you require treatment.

2) Swearing By Fluoride

For early cavities, a fluoride application from our dentists can slow (not stop) the progression of decay. Fluoride in general can also prevent cavities altogether by strengthening tooth enamel and reducing bacteria growth.

Try to choose a toothpaste or mouthwash that contains fluoride so your teeth receive the help they need. Using oral health products with the mineral increases the rate of the remineralization process and slows the breakdown of enamel.

3) Taking a Sugar Break

That soda or candy bar might sound appealing but it’s the last thing you need if you already have a cavity. Consuming something sugary will allow your cavity to expand and worsen. Foods or drinks of this type can also cause future cavities as well.

If you can’t resist temptation, rinse with water after eating or drinking. Follow that up with some dedicated brushing and flossing to slow the decay. Taking care of your teeth after meals have been consumed throughout the day is good practice anyway so why not make it a habit?

Call Us Today

Our dentists in Ann Arbor, MI, encourage you to seek treatment if you discover a cavity as it will not go away on its own. Restoring your smile is our top priority so whether you need a simple filling or a more in-depth root canal, we’re here to help. Call Liberty Dental today at (734) 994-0909 to request an appointment.

This blog post has been updated.

Related Blog Posts: