Cavities can form anywhere on your tooth, including between your teeth. The good news is that your dentist can fill it like any other cavity.
You’re probably aware of how cavities can develop. Too much sugar and carbohydrates form an acid that wears down the hard enamel, allowing a pocket of decay to burrow within the tooth. But did you know cavities can be found anywhere on the tooth, including between your teeth?
With roughly 90 percent of adults aged 20 and older having had at least one cavity, the chance that one will develop or has developed between the teeth is relatively high. But as with any other cavity, your dentist can fill the cavities between your teeth.
How is a cavity between teeth filled?
Called an interproximal cavity, a cavity between the teeth occurs when the decay grows on the surface of one tooth that touches the surface of the next tooth. Because such cavities are slightly harder to detect through a routine dental examination, your dentist will use a bite-wing X-ray to spot the cavity. A bite-wing X-ray is the most common type of dental X-ray and is placed on the tongue side of the tooth. You bite down as the image is taken.
An early-stage cavity appears as a white spot on the tooth. Your dentist can apply a fluoride treatment to strengthen the enamel and reverse the decay. However, you’ll need a filling if the decay has advanced into the tooth. A deeper cavity will produce symptoms such as pain and sensitivity to hot and cold.
A filling for a cavity between your teeth proceeds much like a routine filling. Your dentist will hollow out the decay and fill the cleared area with a material to make the tooth whole again. Several filling materials can be used, including:
Gold. It’s the most durable and long-lasting but also the most expensive.
Composite resin. This type can be matched closely to your tooth color. But the filling won’t last as long as other alternatives and can chip.
Silver amalgam. Like gold, silver amalgam can last 10 to 15 years. Since it contains a small amount of mercury, this type isn’t recommended for pregnant women, nursing mothers, or women planning to conceive.
Ceramics/porcelain. This type can last over 15 years and resist stains better than composite resin fillings. However, this alternative will cost as much as gold.
For decayed teeth unable to support a traditional filling yet don’t require a crown, you can get an indirect filling done in two visits. During the first, the decay or an older filling is removed, and an impression of the tooth is made. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory where the indirect filling is constructed. On the second visit, the indirect filling is placed and cemented to the tooth.
Taking care of your filling
Your tooth may be a bit sore and sensitive for about two weeks following the filling. Avoid sweet foods or foods at extreme cold or hot temperatures to prevent irritation. Desensitizing toothpaste can reduce any discomfort. See your dentist if the pain continues beyond two weeks or if you notice a crack in the filling. You may need a new filling or further treatment.
After going through the time and expense of getting a cavity filling, you’ll want to take care of it so it lasts many, many years. Brush carefully around the filling for at least two weeks. And if you want to prevent cavities between teeth, floss and rinse with a fluoride-infused mouthwash daily. Flossing and mouthwash can get to places between teeth where cavities can hide.
Need a filling? See an Espire dentist in Oklahoma
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Norman, OK, location today! Our highly trained dentists can fill a cavity anywhere on your tooth — including between teeth! Don’t live near our Norman, OK, office? Find one of our other locations near you.
550 24th Ave. S.W.
Norman, OK 73069