Understanding the Different Types of Cavities

Most people nowadays are fully aware that as plaque builds up and acid starts to erode the protective layer that surrounds your teeth – cavities form. However what most people don’t realize is that not all ‘cavities’ are the same and in fact there are several different types of cavities, each of which is unique and should be treated differently.

cavitiesPhoto courtesy: microbewiki.kenyon.edu

By understanding the different types of cavities, you will be able to tell just how serious the problem is. Make no mistake, cavities of any kind should immediately prompt a visit to the dentist, but knowing what’s going on will prevent any anxiety or panic from setting in.

  • Smooth-surface cavities

Generally the most ‘harmless’ sort of cavities insofar as its seriousness, smooth-surface cavities tend to form on the outside of the teeth and starts off as just a small white spot where the bacteria is starting to dissolve the enamel. It is reversible, and often can be counteracted by taking fluoride. It tends to progress fairly slowly.

  • Pit and fissure cavities

When most people refer to ‘cavities’ they are actually referring to pit and fissure cavities that form along the chewing surfaces of the teeth, or even on the sides of the rear teeth. As with other cavities it is caused by the buildup of plaque and bacteria in the grooves which are hard to clean because some of them tend to be so narrow. Unlike smooth-surface cavities, pit and fissure cavities are not reversible though they can be removed and filled or capped. In serious cases the entire tooth may be lost however.

  • Root decay

As people get older the lower part of the teeth that connects to the gums becomes more exposed due to receding gums and that can result in cavities forming in those crevasse. These cavities are known as root decay and they are considered to be the toughest form of cavities to prevent and treat – though a combination of good dental hygiene, adequate saliva flow and avoiding sugary foods can help.

It is always best to catch cavities as early as possible – which is why a trip to the dentist as soon as you suspect that you have one is recommended. If your cavity has started to pain then that means that it may be close to causing irreparable damage, so if possible you should try to avoid it even getting to that point.

For a reliable dentist in Aldershot you should head over to the Time Dental Practice, 87 West Street, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7EN. Be sure to go for regular checkups at least twice a year (once every six months) so that you stand a good chance of identifying and dealing with any cavities early.