Can Cavities Go Away Without Fillings?

Can Cavities Go Away Without Fillings?
Author: Espire Dental Posted: August 16th, 2023 Category:

Cavities don’t always need a filling if you catch decay early.

Almost everyone gets a cavity at least once during their lifetime. In fact, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, 90 percent of the population will have one tooth treated for tooth decay by age 20. 

The standard treatment for cavities, or dental caries, is a filling. But did you know there is a way to make a cavity go away without a filling? You just need to catch a cavity at its earliest sign. 

What is a cavity?

When the bacteria in your mouth combine with the sugars and starches in the food you consume, your teeth become covered with a sticky film called plaque. Over time, the acid in the plaque weakens the minerals in the enamel, or the tough outer layer of the tooth. At this early stage, you may see white or discolored spots on the tooth’s surface but not feel any pain.

If the acid burrows into the next layer, the dentin, your tooth may become sensitive and painful. If not treated, the decay can reach the pulp where blood vessels and nerves reside. The toothache becomes even more severe, and an abscess may develop around the tooth.

Failing to brush and floss your teeth regularly is the primary cause of tooth decay because plaque sticks to your teeth longer than it should. The longer the plaque stays on your teeth, the better chance of cavities. But decay can also result from dry mouth, a condition that decreases the amount of saliva in the mouth. Saliva naturally washes away the bacteria and food particles that cause decay. If you don’t make enough saliva, your teeth are at increased risk of decay. 

So when is the best time to treat a cavity?

The answer is simple: as early as possible! If you see white spots on your teeth, you are probably looking at the earliest stages of tooth decay. At this point, the cavity can be reversed by building up the minerals in the enamel with fluoride toothpaste and/or fluoride treatments from your dentist. The strengthened enamel can stop the decay in its tracks.

Unfortunately, you might fail to notice those early signs, and the decay grows and leads to severe toothache or sensitivity. If you experience those symptoms, see your dentist immediately. Suppose the cavity extends only through the enamel and dentin. In that case, it can be fixed by removing the decay and filling the space with a tooth-colored composite material or a silver-colored amalgam filling. Decay reaching down further to the pulp must be repaired with a root canal and possibly a crown. 

Don’t want a cavity? Prevent it!

Cavities top the list of common oral issues. But they’re also one of the most preventable dental problems. Taking the time to practice excellent oral hygiene will keep your teeth free of decay. Here’s a list of what you can do now to prevent cavities:

Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens the enamel, so brushing at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste fights the acid that causes cavities. 

Floss every night. Brushing cannot get to the bacteria and plaque between your teeth, but flossing can.

Increase your fluoride intake. Toothpaste isn’t the only way to get more fluoride on your teeth. To boost your fluoride intake, drink tap water and skip the bottled kind, which doesn’t have fluoride.

Limit sweets. Sweet treats and sugary beverages promote tooth decay by supercharging the enamel-eroding acid on your teeth. Limit those foods to an occasional indulgence. 

See your dentist twice yearly. Even if you don’t see the early signs of a cavity, your dentist can. And that only happens if you schedule a checkup every six months. You won’t need a filling if a cavity is caught early enough!

We can make cavities go away

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Mission Valley, CA, location today! Our highly trained dentists can check your teeth for cavities and treat them right away. Don’t live near our Mission Valley, CA, office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Mission Valley, CA
8989 Rio San Diego Drive
Suite 170
San Diego, CA 92108