What are Microcavities?
Microcavities or surface cavities are the earliest indicators that a tooth is undergoing a decay process.
Not all cavities will progress and require a “drill-and-fill” treatment. Understanding the concept of microcavities is relevant in deciding — “to treat or not to treat?”
If your dentist says you have one of these, you may breathe a sigh of relief. But, you should still ask your dentist on how to keep your teeth healthy!
At Midtown Dentistry, we believe in the power of preventive dentistry.
Can a small cavity go away?
Small cavities are decay on the tooth enamel and can be slowed down or even stopped.
Some ways to do this are regularly brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and avoiding sugary foods.
Let’s review the layers that make up our teeth.
Our teeth have three different layers:
- The outermost hard enamel
- The softer underlying dentin
- The innermost pulp, which contains the blood vessels and nerves.
Microcavities are cavities found only on the enamel layer.
Enamel, being the most mineralized tissue in our body, can gain back some of its minerals when damaged.
Do Microcvavities need to be filled?
You do not have to fill surface cavities or microcavities since there are ways to reverse the decay process at this stage without having to drill your tooth.
One of the best methods is the use of fluoride, either through toothpaste, varnishes,
or gels. Fluoride replaces minerals lost in enamel to stop the decay process.
Another method is by placing sealants on the chewing surfaces of your molars to cover deep grooves where food and bacteria may stay. The sealant creates a surface that you can easily clean at home!
What happens to an untreated Microcavity?
A cavity left untreated will only attract more food and bacteria over time and the decay process will continue. When an open cavity is beginning to form, it’s recommended to have your tooth filled immediately.
Once the deeper layers are reached, irreversible damage takes place. A tooth may exhibit symptoms such as prolonged sensitivity or pain when drinking hot or cold drinks, eating sweets, when being touched or when chewing.
In this case, more extensive treatment such as root canal treatment or a tooth extraction will be needed depending on the extent of the damage.
What are the early signs of a cavity?
Although a white or brown spot on the tooth surface could be a stain, it could also be an early sign of tooth decay. It often goes unnoticed because you may not feel any pain from the tooth or you may experience only slight sensitivity to cold or hot drinks.
The best way to confirm whether or not you have a cavity is to have your dentist examine your teeth!