If your enamel looks almost perfect with no signs of tooth decay, you might think it’s okay to put off your dental appointments. Even if you think your teeth are healthy, cavities can show up in places you can’t see with the naked eye. If you don’t find and treat the decay, it can potentially cause lifelong problems for you, including pain and infection.
Here are things to know about hidden tooth decay and what you can do to detect it and protect your teeth from having problems.
Where Does Hidden Tooth Decay Form?
Dentists generally advise patients to brush their teeth twice a day to prevent cavities. Adults should also floss between their teeth at least once a day. However, many adult men and women don’t follow their dentist’s advice as much as they should. A lack of home and professional dental care potentially lead to hidden cavities.
Hidden cavities can form anywhere in the mouth, including between the deep grooves and crevices of your back teeth, along the sharp edges of your canines, and on the smooth surfaces behind your incisors and bicuspids. Some decay can form above the gumline and on the thick roots of your teeth.
The cavities might not cause any issues right away. In many cases, cavities take some time to create problems for you. But once the decay does cause you problems, the results can be painful.
Tooth decay can eventually spread to the soft and hard tissues inside your teeth. If the decay spreads to the nerves and blood inside the tooth, the decay can lead to an infection. The infection gradually travels down the roots of the tooth until it forms a small pocket of pus called an abscess.
Abscesses can enlarge enough to press against the nerves running through your jawbone. The pain experienced from the compressed nerves can be excruciating for some individuals. If the abscess ruptures, pus can leak out and spread bacteria to other locations in the mouth, face, and jaw.
Ruptured tooth abscesses can potentially release bacteria into your bloodstream. The germs can lead to a dangerous condition called sepsis, or blood poisoning, in some individuals. Sepsis can affect multiple major organs if you don’t treat it immediately, including your lungs, kidneys, and heart.
Unless you seek professional dental care regularly, you may not find the decay in time to keep it from permanently damaging your teeth and affecting your health.
How Do You Detect and Treat Hidden Cavities?
Detection is one of the best ways to keep your teeth and body safe from tooth decay. You can do so by seeing a dentist for a laser cavity detection exam. The exam uses the latest technology in dentistry to locate and diagnose the initial signs of tooth decay. Early detection and treatment keep the decay from spreading further into the tooth.
In addition to the diagnostic test above, a dentist can visually inspect your teeth for decay. The visual exam may include checking your gumline for plaque buildup. The bacteria inside plaque can cause tooth decay when they feed. The feeding germs produce a strong acid that gradually dissolves the minerals inside your enamel.
If a dentist finds decay in your teeth during the exams above, they’ll repair them with restorations. Restorations keep cavities from spreading deeper into the crowns of your teeth. Decay found in the roots of your teeth may require more advanced treatment, such as root canal therapy and crowns.
If time permits, a dentist may clean your teeth. The cleaning not only removes plaque from the services of your teeth, it can also remove germs from above and below your gumline. A dental provider may apply sealants to the bite surfaces of your molars to keep bacteria and plaque from settling on them.
A dentist may ask about your diet during the final stages of your visit. Some of the items you consume may contain sugar and acids, which can dissolve or weaken your tooth enamel over time. Weakened tooth enamel can eventually crack or chip from pressure. A dentist may counsel you about the importance of good nutrition for your teeth.
After treatment, keep your teeth healthy by seeing a dentist every six months for exam and cleaning. A dental provider may take X-rays of your teeth during the visits. Along with laser cavity detection exams, X-rays can detect cavities, gum disease, and infection of the jawbone.
If something does show up in the diagnostic tests, a dentist can schedule the treatments you need to correct them, including dental crowns, porcelain veneers, and periodontal treatment. These types of treatments can occur alone or together, depending on the extent of your problems.
Don’t allow hidden tooth decay to destroy your teeth. You can contact us at Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry for a consultation today.