Tooth decay or cavities is something that echoes in the dental world all the time. To understand why this happens, it is essential to know what a cavity is. Cavities are permanent holes in the tooth; they do not form all of a sudden but emerge gradually. Catching a cavity early, as in stage 1 can significantly increase the chances of saving the tooth.

In this written piece, we have detailed five stages of a cavity forming process, read to know what does it look like, and how to get rid of it.

Stage 1
White Spots on Teeth
Stage 2
Enamel Decay
Stage 3
Deep cavity In Dentin Layer
Stage 4
Decay Reaching The Pulp
Stage 5
Danger Call
Abscess Formation
Signs  Tooth demineralization Hole formation on teeth surface Deep cavity- excruciating pain Tooth nerve sensitivity Extreme tooth pain, systemic infection
Treatment Reversible
Fluoride treatment
Irreversible
Filling of tooth cavity
Irreversible
1. Dental filling
2. Dental Crown
Irreversible
1. Root canal
2. Extraction
Irreversible
1. Extraction of tooth
2. Oral antibiotics

Stage 1 Early Cavity – White Spots on Teeth 

As tooth damage begins, white spots on teeth are an early sign of stage 1 in the cavity forming process. These dots are under your protective enamel layer yet easily visible from the outside.

The main reason this happens is demineralization.

Ensure regular dental checkups of you and especially your children since they are most prone to bacterial attack at this age.

If you catch the cavity growth as early as stage 1 of your toddler or even yourself, there is a chance of saving the tooth from further damage.

Reversal at this point is possible. Stage 1 early cavity treatment involves fluoride remineralization and an appropriate dental hygiene regime are two ways to cater to the progression of early stage tooth decay.

Stage 2 – Decay of the Enamel

Be it incisor, molar, or other early cavity formation, stage 1 always starts with enamel decay.

Your outer layer will remain solid, intact at first, but in the latter part after early stage 1 of cavity, the hole will burst through it.

This marks stage 2.

As the hole busts the enamel it reaches the inner layers, which are much more sensitive than it, and the decay stages of tooth will unfold a lot faster comparatively.

”What does a cavity feel like if left untreated?” this thought must have crossed your mind isn’t it?

Well, it sends sharp zaps of pain because of triggers. 

Reversal at this stage is of no use. However, there is still a good chance of saving the tooth. 

Filling the cavity after cleaning the decay with resin, ceramic, or dental amalgam will help ease pain impulses.

Stage 3 – Deep Cavity in the Dentin Layer

Once the decay breaks away enamel and moves to dentin, it is now late and no longer an early stage 1 cavity.

It has now advanced to part 3 that can cause more serious issues.

However, there is still a streak of silver lining; the decay has yet to reach the pulp.

But still, even if that has not happened yet, the tooth will start aching really bad.

Reversal of tooth decay after it leaves the enamel is not possible. So, how to heal deep cavity in the tooth?

Good news for us, we have 2 treatment options for this stage available:

  1. Dental filling
  2. Crown placement

Past the enamel, decay or cavity is treatable in early stages via 1 – filling. The dentist will swipe clean the affected area and then fill it with dental fillers.

But, once the issue goes out of hand, then the professionals resort to a dental crown. Unlike filling process, complete removal of cavities takes place before crown placement.

Stage 4 – Decay Reaches the Pulp

Plan clinical cleaning and regular checkups so that neither you nor your child ever reaches this stage.

This is excruciatingly painful since the infection is now in the pulp – where nerves reside.

At this point, you will look for any option to get rid of cavities, but unfortunately a root canal is inevitable unless you go for extraction.

Stage 5 – Abscess Formation – Danger Call

From early cavity stage 1 to 5, this one is deadly. The decay, along with an infection has now traveled till the end.

In this last of the final stages of tooth decay, the infection is in the tissues, roots, and bones. The area goes double in size because of inflammation and is extremely painful.

Abscess formation can result in fatality because the infection can spread systemically – to the other body organs.

Is there a way to stop tooth decay from spreading into the blood?

Yes, do not panic; there are methods that can stop the spread.

  1. Get rid of the tooth entirely, i.e., extraction.
  2. Infection control is possible with oral antibiotics.

Summing Up 

Tooth decay or cavity caught in an early stage like 1 is reversible. However, later ones are treatable with the help of a dental professional. Make sure that you keep up with your regular examination and cleaning appointments so that the issue is detected soon enough.

If you are in search of a competent dentist in your area for cavity treatment, look no further Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics has got you covered. Call to make an appointment or visit us any day.