You hear the word “cavities,” and you probably think about those nasty little holes forming in your molars, right? Many cavities do form in the molars because food and plaque become trapped in all those nooks and crannies, causing tooth decay. You may think it’s impossible to get cavities on those thin front teeth — but you can. If you do suspect a cavity there, it’s vital to get it fixed immediately.
Endicott Dental has fixed many, many cavities, including those that happen on the incisors or front teeth. We know how important it is to treat cavities on the front teeth right away to avoid loss of your permanent teeth and infection.
Can You Get Cavities on Your Front Teeth?
Cavities and tooth decay aren’t limited to the large molars in the back of your mouth. You can also get cavities just as easily on your front top teeth or your bottom front teeth. Cavities can be easier to prevent on the front teeth because they’re smoother and lack the deep crevices that molars have. The front teeth still have crevices, so it’s just as important to brush your front teeth thoroughly as it is your back teeth.
We often see cavities on the bottom front teeth. What does a cavity look like on the front teeth? Often, you’ll see discoloration on the tooth. Your tooth color may go from white to brown or black if the cavity is left untreated.
It may be hard to reach the back of the bottom teeth to clean them properly. One solution may be to use a fluoride mouthwash to provide extra protection.
What Is a Cavity?
A cavity is a result of tooth decay. Food begins to break down in your mouth before it heads to your stomach. Food particles and bacteria in your mouth form plaque, that slimy white substance you see on your teeth before you brush.
Plaque holds bacteria against your teeth, allowing it to weaken your enamel. The enamel is the hard, protective outer shell of your tooth. It protects the dentin and the pulp inside. The pulp is the living interior of the tooth, where your blood vessels and nerves keep the tooth alive. Cavities that make it to the pulp can be very painful and can cause infection. That’s why it’s so important to take care of a cavity as soon as possible.
How Do I Prevent Cavities?
Cavities form because the plaque isn’t cleaned off the tooth. It holds the bacteria in place, allowing them to eat away at the enamel. Eventually, it weakens it to the point of allowing a hole to form. From there, the bacteria can damage the softer dentin inside, then make its way to the pulp.
The easiest way to prevent cavities is to take care of your oral health. Brush and floss regularly - and well. That “and well” may be the most important part of dental care. Running a brush quickly over each tooth isn’t enough to clean away all the plaque. You need to be certain to hit every surface of the tooth, cleaning carefully every crevice.
You should floss first to remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth. That makes it easier to brush it away. Brush for two minutes at a time using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you brush at least twice a day, but it’s best to brush after every meal.
How Do You Fix Cavities on the Front Teeth?
If you’ve ever had a cavity on your back teeth, you know the drill. No, really, you know the DRILL. We use that tool to drill out the rotted part of the tooth and the area around it. Then we fill the hole with a filling, usually made of metal.
It works a little differently with cavities in front teeth. Because they’re in the front, your incisors are easy to see. That means we can’t just drill a hole and fill it with a metal filling.
We want your smile to look natural, which means we need to repair your tooth and still have it look like a whole tooth. It can be a tricky process.
The first step is to drill out the cavity. We need to do this carefully because the tooth is much thinner than the back teeth, and we don’t want to crack or chip the tooth. After careful drilling, we can fill the cavity, but we don’t do it with a metal filling.
Instead, we may use a composite resin or porcelain filling. The advantage is we can color the resin or porcelain material to match the color of your tooth. That will make the filling much harder to see.
Leaving a cavity too long can cause too much damage to the tooth. In that case, we may need to do more to the tooth to restore its look. That’s where our cosmetic dentistry services come in!
One option we can provide is a porcelain veneer to restore the look of the tooth. We can match the veneer to the surrounding teeth so it looks natural.
To add a veneer, we’ll first take care of the cavity so it doesn’t continue to grow. Then we’ll remove some of the enamel from the front of the tooth and install the veneer with a strong dental bonding agent. Your tooth will look as good as new!
What happens if the cavity causes you to lose a corner of the tooth? We can hide that missing section with a crown. Unlike veneers, crowns cover the entire tooth instead of just sitting on the front surface of the tooth. Like veneers, crowns can be matched in color to the surrounding teeth, making it look like a natural part of your smile.
If the cavity is left too long, it can burrow its way into the pulp. From there, the bacteria can infect the pulp or destroy it. Either way, a root canal may be needed to save the tooth.
We dig out what’s left of the pulp and living tissue and replace it with a special filling. Then we close the hole with resin or porcelain to mimic the look of the tooth.
Preventing Cavities in the Front Teeth
Brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent a cavity in a front tooth. It’s also important that you see your dentist twice a year for a thorough cleaning and examination. At Endicott Dental, we use top technology to spot cavities, no matter how small or elusive they may be.
We will recommend the best method of treatment for your cavity, and we’ll take care of it for you. If you live in the Broken Arrow, OK, area, Endicott Dental can take care of your cavities, no matter what teeth they’re on! Schedule an appointment to visit us today and maintain that healthy smile!