Cavities between teeth are also known as interproximal cavities. Just like other cavities, they occur when the enamel is worn away from the teeth and bacteria eats away at the tooth. Even though they aren’t all that different from cavities in other locations, this type can be more difficult to spot because of its hidden location. Continue reading to learn how you can tell if you have an interproximal cavity, how they are treated, and how to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
How Can I Tell If I Have an Interproximal Cavity?
More often than not, people don’t generally notice this type of cavity right away. It doesn’t usually become apparent until the cavity penetrates the enamel and reaches the second layer of the tooth, known as the dentin. This layer is more sensitive and can cause you to feel both sensitivity to temperature and discomfort while chewing. You won’t know for sure until you have it looked at by a dentist, usually through a bitewing x-ray.
How Are Cavities Between Teeth Treated?
The way a cavity is treated depends on how serious it is. Here are the most common solutions for treating interproximal cavities:
- Recalcification: If the cavity is caught early and hasn’t progressed, it could be recalcified with fluoride gel.
- Filling: Most likely, your dentist will drill into your tooth to remove decay and then fill it with a tooth-colored filling material.
- Root canal: If your cavity is deep and more severe, your dentist may need to perform a root canal in order to save it. During this procedure, they will remove the pulp from the center of the tooth and then seal it off with a filling.
- Dental crown: For teeth that require large fillings or a root canal, your dentist may decide to place this natural looking cover over them in order to protect them from further damage.
- Extraction: This is only done if your cavity has progressed too far and your dentist is unable to save your tooth. Afterwards, you can fill the gap with a tooth replacement option like a bridge or dental implant.
How Are Interproximal Cavities Avoided
Your toothbrush is great at removing plaque, but it cannot reach all areas in the mouth. This is why flossing is so crucial to remove food debris, plaque, and bacteria from between the teeth and prevent cavities from occurring there. Be sure that you are flossing at least once a day. Other ways you can prevent interproximal cavities are by using a mouth rinse and cutting back on sugary foods and beverages.
Cavities are never fun to deal with, but they are easily preventable. By keeping up good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings, you can maintain healthy teeth for years to come.
About the Author
Dr. Megan A. Shelton earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and is committed to completing hours of continuing education each year to expand her knowledge in the field. She maintains memberships in numerous professional organizations including the American Dental Association and the State of California Dental Association. If you think you have an interproximal cavity, Dr. Shelton would be happy to help. For more information or to schedule an appointment at her practice in Carlsbad, visit her website or call (760) 388-6773.