What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated?

What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated?

Team Blog Post

Tooth decay is a common problem caused by plaque bacteria. Patients who do not practice adequate oral hygiene are more prone to tooth decay, but it can also happen because patients have weak enamel or dental trauma.

Many patients may believe that they do not need to address tooth decay if they are not experiencing discomfort. Dentists caution that leaving cavities untreated can lead to serious oral health issues.

Here are some of the problems patients could experience if they choose not to treat tooth decay:

Small Cavities Worsen

Tooth decay starts small but can progress into a severe problem. Treating tooth decay as soon as your dentist detects it is the best course of action to avoid major damage to your healthy tooth. The larger the cavity, the more likely your tooth will crack or break.

Potential for Nerve Damage

When decay deepens, the pulp chamber is exposed. When nerves meet the air, they become inflamed and can cause painful symptoms. Enough exposure can lead to nerve death and tooth loss. A root canal will be needed if you experience nerve damage.

Greater Risk of Infections

Large cavities will likely progress to the point where the tooth becomes infected. Tooth infections can be painful and affect both your oral and overall health. You may need a costly root canal to preserve your tooth from extraction or a bridge or implant to replace it.

Preventing Tooth Decay

Fortunately, you can take concrete steps to protect yourself from the harmful effects of tooth decay.

  • Brush at least twice daily with an approved fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and below the gumline.
  • Keep all scheduled dental appointments so your dentist can monitor and treat small areas of decay before they worsen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Decay

What should I avoid eating to prevent tooth decay?

Most patients know it's best to avoid sugary, sticky foods to prevent decay, but you should also watch out for highly acidic foods and drinks that can damage your enamel. If you have these foods, brush as soon as possible with fluoride toothpaste.

What happens if my cavity is too big to fill?

If you have a cavity that is too large to fill, you may need a crown. If your tooth structure degrades to the point where a crown is not feasible, you may need an extraction. Treating decay at an early stage can reduce your chances of needing an expensive procedure or restoration.

Call Paramount Dental Arts

If you believe you have a cavity, it is best to contact us right away. We can schedule an appointment to take X-rays and evaluate your issue before it is too late to save your tooth. Please call our Clifton, NJ, office at 973-777-1772 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Schild.