Cavities In Between Teeth
Although public health campaigns and programs have resulted in better oral health and decreased cavities in the world population, specialists consider that the percentage of citizens affected by cavities is still very high. This type of injury can occur on any surface of the teeth or more than one tooth at a time, so there are different types of cavities. Let’s get to know one of them, not very well known among the population: cavities in between teeth, interproximal or interdental caries.
What are cavities in between teeth?
They are hard to detect cavities. They are located between the teeth and are especially serious because they usually affect the two adjacent teeth. The area between two teeth is an area where it is more common to find remains of food and bacterial plaque; therefore, we will also find tartar. This type of cavities progresses quite quickly because in this area,, the tooth structure is more delicate than that of the chewing area. Thus, it is possible that if they are not detected in time, the decay could go deep into the nerve of the tooth (pulp), causing tooth sensitivity or even pain.
The symptoms of cavities, in general, depend on the affected area and its depth. Therefore, symptoms such as pain are only experienced when cavities have gone beyond the tooth’s enamel, reaching the dentin. Initially, pain is only felt when ingesting cold, hot, or sweet drinks, which means that the dental pulp is not yet affected.
Once cavities have caused damage to the pulp of the tooth, it can cause pain even without the intervention of an external agent. There is a possibility that the pulp has died and the piece becomes sensitive when chewed on or it is pressed with the tongue or a finger because of the inflammation of the root or, because of infection.
People with crowded teeth and those who wear orthodontic appliances or prostheses are more at risk of suffering them because these facilitate the accumulation of food.
How interdental cavities are diagnosed and treated
They are challenging to detect, so it is a good idea to go to the dentist at least two times a year. There are occasions when the dentist can only diagnose them through X-rays, because they are not visible to the naked eye, unless they are already widespread, causing obvious destruction of the teeth.
Another evaluation method is dental floss, which provides information on a large space between the teeth where food will accumulate very quickly. Besides, if the dental floss becomes frayed, it is an indicator a cavity’s presence, which is responsible for the breakage of that floss.
To treat them, it is necessary to evaluate if one or both teeth are affected, in which the last case, it is advisable to repair both teeth in the same session. Generally, for interproximal cavities, standard cavity reconstruction techniques are used.
How to prevent them
Good dental hygiene is the best weapon to avoid the appearance of cavities that affect any tooth surface, including interproximal or interdental ones, and good oral health in general. In addition to brushing after meals, it is advisable to use dental floss or interproximal brushes for interdental cleaning, complemented with mouthwashes.
To prevent cavities, the US National Institutes of Health recommends:
- A good tooth brushing every day with fluoride toothpaste, as this mineral strengthens the teeth and makes the tooth roots less sensitive.
- Use daily dental floss or interdental brush at least once a day.
- Pay attention to what you eat, avoiding as much as possible the intake of sugary or acidic products, such as soft drinks. The nutrients that cavity-causing bacteria need to live come from food.
- Visit the dentist regularly.
- Have dental cleanings by dental professionals twice a year.
- Antibacterial therapy in people who are very prone to cavities when prescribed by the dentist
If you have any questions about this or other topics, you can contact us at Channel Islands Family Dental. We look forward to your visit and will make a timely diagnosis. Our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, and Port Hueneme will be able to guide you to the best treatment to care for your health and give you back your best smile.