What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated? The Importance Of Restorative Care

Why is it so important to get a filling for a tooth that has a cavity? Can a small cavity really cause you to lose your tooth? Dr. Patrick Stuckey wants to empower patients to make the best decisions about their dental health, so here are a few things to keep in mind if a dentist has recently told you that you have a cavity:   

The Cavity Will Get Worse & Cause More Severe Symptoms 

Minor cavities develop when oral bacteria in your mouth feed on starches and sugars and excrete acid. Over time, this acid causes your tooth to become “demineralized.” If you don’t brush and floss properly to remove acid, this will eventually result in a cavity (a small hole in your tooth).

Once you have developed a cavity, it won’t go away on its own. In fact, its growth will accelerate by quite a bit. The hole in your tooth will become a magnet for bacteria, food debris, and acid, which will continue to eat away at the outer layers of enamel and dentin that protect your tooth.

A very deep cavity that has nearly eaten away at all of your enamel and dentin may start to feel more sensitive to heat, cold, and the pressure of chewing. You may even feel intermittent pain in your tooth as the cavity grows worse. However, a cavity at this stage can still be treated with a crown or a filling. 

Your Tooth Will Become Infected And Require A Root Canal 

If it’s left untreated, your cavity will make its way through all of the enamel and dentin that protect your vulnerable “pulp.” The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels that keep your tooth alive and support its natural function. 

Once it becomes infected, the pulp will begin to die. This will cause quite a bit of pain and discomfort, and you may notice a severe, prolonged toothache. If your cavity reaches this stage, you will need root canal therapy to remove the infected pulp and tooth material. Then, the tooth must be protected with a filling or a dental crown to prevent further damage.

If the Inner Pulp Dies, Extraction Will Be Necessary  

If you still do not get care for your tooth after it has become infected, it will die from the inside out. As the pulp decays and dies, the tooth will no longer be able to survive. The pain of a dying tooth can be excruciating. 

Once your tooth dies, it may become a “dead” tooth and still remain in your mouth, or it may fall out naturally while you are eating or chewing. In some cases, dead teeth may require extraction. To maintain your oral health and prevent further complications, you’ll need to have your tooth replaced with a partial denture, a dental bridge, or a dental implant. 

Don’t Ignore That Cavity – The Sooner You Get Help, The Better! 

If you think you have a cavity, it’s important to get help right away. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that your tooth will become infected, which will require additional restorative treatments. Don’t wait. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Patrick Stuckey now, and get the help you need to save your tooth and get relief from pain and discomfort. Contact us at (318) 255-8648, or stop by our office at 303 W Alabama Ave, Ruston, LA 71270. 

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