A general dentist does more than routine dental treatments like teeth cleanings during checkups. They also screen their patients for issues like oral cancer. Cancer is an out-of-control growth of cells that invade and damage healthy tissues around them. Oral cancer typically manifests as a sore or growth that develops in the mouth that does…
3 Common Types of Cavities
Cavities are tiny holes that form on teeth surfaces due to acids made by oral bacteria eating away at their structures. They are one of the most common dental issues, with about 91% of people in the U.S. estimated to have at least one cavity.
Oral bacteria feast on the sugars in food particles stuck on teeth after meals, and they convert them into plaque and acids. The acids eat away at teeth until they are washed away by saliva, water, or brushing.
The different types of cavities
There are three main types of cavities that dentists often find themselves dealing with.
1. Root cavities
These form on teeth roots and are more common with older people, who are more likely to have receding gums. The condition leaves teeth roots exposed to acids made by oral bacteria, which begin to break them down. Teeth roots are not protected by enamel, like the crowns are. This makes them more vulnerable to tooth decay.
Dentists typically address cavities in the root by removing decayed material from the tooth and sealing the cavity with a filling. If the decay has made its way to the tooth’s pulp, a root canal might be performed. Root cavities tend to progress faster than other types due to teeth roots not having enamel to slow down the decay process.
2. Pit and fissure cavities
These types of cavities are often found on molars at the back of the mouth. They affect mostly the chewing surfaces of teeth, and food particles tend to get stuck in them. This speeds up the decay because oral bacteria get all the nutrients that they need inside the cavity to keep expanding it.
People with poor oral hygiene and children who might have not yet developed proper brushing habits are more likely to develop pit and fissure cavities. They can be treated with filling or prevented with dental sealants. If the cavity is allowed to progress, a root canal or an extraction might be needed to protect the patient’s oral health.
3. Smooth-surface cavities
These types of cavities form on the flat surfaces of teeth. They tend to progress slower than other types of cavities, and they are the least likely to occur. People with poor oral hygiene are most likely to develop these types of cavities. The sides of teeth get rinsed often, with saliva giving them additional protection against tooth decay.
Smooth surface cavities can often be treated with fluoride treatments, since it takes a while for the decay to get past enamel. When that occurs, a filling will be needed.
Cavities can also develop between the spaces between teeth. These types of cavities are more likely to form when a person does not include flossing as part of their oral hygiene routine.
Protect your teeth against cavities
Cavities can be easily treated with fillings, and preventative treatments like dental sealants help keep teeth cavity-free. Call or visit our Benicia clinic to learn more about how our dentist can protect your teeth from decay.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Cavities in Benicia, CA.
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