Types Of Dental Cavities

Types Of Dental Cavities

Understanding the different types of cavities caused by tooth decay.

One of the most common dental problems that we see are cavities that are formed by tooth decay. Most people will probably receive a filling or two during their lifetime unless they are very fortunate, and who also look after their teeth really well. What most of our Canterbury patients probably don’t know though, is that there are different names for different types and locations of cavities of the tooth, and we will take a look at these in today’s blog.

In addition to this, we will look at the possible treatments that you might receive at Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic should you be unfortunate to have a cavity form, whether you have a toothache to go with it or not.

Let us take a look then at the various dental cavities and their appropriate treatments here in Canterbury.

Surface cavities

Probably no surprises here, but a surface cavity arises on the flat surfaces of a tooth, whether this is the outer facing enamel or between the teeth. These are usually relatively straightforward to treat and usually involve a standard dental filling treatment using either amalgam, or, especially if visible, a increasingly popular tooth coloured filling material.

Pit/fissure cavities

This type of cavity occurs in the pits and the grooves of the tooth surface where food is chewed and ground up before swallowing. Small amounts of food and bacteria can easily become trapped in these tiny areas and may lead to decay, especially if you don’t brush your teeth well enough. As with surface cavities, these tend to be filled with either amalgam or composite filling materials.

Root cavities

These tend to occur in people who have receding gums, possibly caused by gum disease or simply through old age. This exposes the less well protected root section of the tooth, making decay more likely. Again, these will require filling but there is also the possible need for a root canal treatment if the inner part of the root canals have also become infected.

Secondary cavities

This type of dental cavity tends to form where a tooth has previously been restored. Where tiny gaps are exposed around a previous filling, dental crown or a bridge, there is a real chance of decay occurring. This is why it is important to make sure that you clean your teeth thoroughly, even on and around any ‘artificial’ restorations. They may not decay as they are made from man made materials, but the area around them can. It is likely that the previous restoration will need to be removed and replaced once any other decay has been cleaned away.

Interstitial cavities

These are cavities that occur in the spaces between the teeth. This is a very common area for them to appear due to the fact that cleaning between the teeth can be quite tricky and food and bacteria easily collect there. While brushing your teeth is essential, it is this type of cavity that is best prevented by the use of dental floss to enable cleaning between the teeth. As only around one in five people in the UK use dental floss, it is no surprise that this type of cavity is quite common and is why we recommend that patients of our Canterbury dental practice always use floss as well as brushing their teeth.

As you can see, there are many possible areas of the tooth that can decay, and not always obvious ones either. This only serves to emphasise the importance of preventative oral care, something that our Canterbury dental team are passionate about. There are three key aspects to this.

1 – Consider what you eat and drink. Try to avoid sugar as much as possible, including those sugars hidden in ready made products .. even savoury ones.

2 – Clean your teeth well. Pay attention when brushing your teeth and always include your gums. If you don’t currently use floss, you should add this to your teeth cleaning regime. It is one of the most effective things you can do to clean your teeth well.

3 – Make sure you see both the dentist and dental hygienist on a regular basis; usually every six months. This will help you to keep your teeth and gums healthy and ensure that any cavities that do form can be restored while they are still small and require minor fillings rather than more extensive (and invasive) dental work.

If you don’t have an appointment booked with us at the moment, or if you are unsure, you can contact us by calling Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic today on 01227 463529.