Dr. Tanya Orr, DDS
6880 W County Hwy 30A
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

What Happens to an Untreated Cavity?

Blonde woman cringes and touches her cheek due to toothache pain from an untreated cavity

Cavities are a very common dental health issue. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, roughly 90% of adults in the United States have had cavities in their permanent teeth! Moreover, 26% of these adults have untreated cavities. So, what happens to untreated cavities?

What Are Cavities?

First, we’ll explain what a cavity is and how it occurs.

  1. Bacteria feast on residual food and beverage particles containing sugar and starch that linger on your teeth. As a waste-product, they create acid that dissolves enamel, your tooth’s outer protective layer.
  2. Bacteria multiply and form a thin, sticky biofilm called dental plaque on the surface of your teeth and along your gumline. Plaque releases toxins that irritate your gums and cause them to pull away from your teeth. This creates pockets that harbor additional oral bacteria.
  3. The acid produced by feeding bacteria hollow out tiny holes and pits of decay in your teeth, called cavities.

How Do I Know If I Have a Cavity?

Cavities are hardly noticeable when they first begin. Most cavities must be detected by a dental professional via digital dental X-rays and a visual examination. However, some indicators that a cavity has extended beyond your enamel to the underlying layers of dentin and pulp include:

  • A chronic toothache with either intermittent or throbbing pain
  • Sensitivity to extreme hot and cold temperatures, sound vibrations, chewing, and the pressure changes on an airplane during take-off and touch-down
  • Perpetual bad breath
  • Visibly brown or black spots or pits on your teeth

What Happens to an Untreated Cavity?

Cavities don’t just magically heal themselves. If you leave a cavity untreated, the decay will advance deeper into your tooth and can spread to surrounding teeth. Root canal therapy is required to save a tooth from severe cavities that have damaged your tooth’s inner pulp of blood vessels and nerves. Teeth beyond repair must be extracted. Furthermore, an abscess, or infection, from unchecked bacteria can contribute to other systemic health problems, such acne, heart disease, pneumonia, and premature delivery of babies with a low birth weight.

Schedule Your Biannual Checkup!

Are you cavity-free? You can protect yourself from decay through daily at-home oral hygiene and professional dental cleanings and examinations. Contact our team at Santa Rosa Beach office to schedule your dental appointment today.

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Affordable Payment Options

We believe that dental care should be available to everyone, but we also don’t want it to be a financial burden. To accommodate our patients, we accept a wide variety of flexible payment options. We are very insurance friendly, accept CareCredit financing, all major credit cards, and even have our very own in-house dental savers plan. We have something for everyone, so contact us today for any questions about our affordable payment options.

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