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cavity between teeth

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Old 09-09-2006, 10:06 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2
crikey44 HB User
cavity between teeth

Okay, so at my last checkup my dentist told me that I had a small cavity between two of my teeth but he did not recommend fixing it just waiting till next year to see how much it progressed

Do you guys think this was a good suggestion? How do you fix a cavity that is between two teeth? Is it very damaging to the two teeth to fix the problem due to the cavities location? Are there any new ways to fix this kind of problem other than with drills like with lasers?

Any advice would be really appreciated< I looked online myself but I couldn"t find anything in detail about this kind of dental procedure

btw my keyboard is messed up (spilled water on it) and hence the lack of proper punctuation

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Old 09-10-2006, 04:48 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Colorado
Posts: 356
wintersun HB User
Re: cavity between teeth

I would do something, because the next thing you know, you will have a big gap between the teeth, and it just rots away. Cavities can get BIG in a hurry! I have no idea how they fix that??

Old 09-12-2006, 01:19 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 15
buddee HB User
Re: cavity between teeth

There are several classes of cavities. First you have to understand the three layers of your tooth. The outer layer is enamel, the middle is dentin, and the inner layer is the pulp. Where the enamel and the dentin meet, it is called the DEJ or dentin-enamel junction. If a cavity hasn't crossed the DEJ, then it is possible for the cavity to heal. This is called remineralization. If you can find a way to keep you mouth a little cleaner, use a little bit more fluoride, etc., then it is possible that the cavity will heal up and you won't need to have it filled. Once it crosses the DEJ on the x-ray, it usually needs to be filled. Lasers do the same thing as drills, they cut the tooth. They just cut it differently. It's like cutting down a tree with an axe or a chainsaw. Either way, it still gets cut. There are other details about lasers, but that is the bottom line.

In the end, if you don't think your habits are going to change, or you don't think SOMETHING is going to change, then waiting and watching means you are just going to wait and watch it get bigger! No sense in that. Waiting and watching implies that the dentist hopes it is going to get better, not bigger. If he thought it was going to get bigger, than it wouldn't make sense to wait.

Cavities can indeed get big in a hurry, but they can also take years to develop. Usually an dentist will check it again in 6-months. If this has developed very quickly, you might think differently than if it had been brewing for a couple of years.

Finally: the way it is fixed is usually that they drill down from the top of the tooth to get at the cavity in between the teeth. Then they fill the hole with a silver metal filling (amalgam) or a white tooth colored filling (composite). If you want to read about it you want to search for terms like "slot prep", "class 2 amalgam restoration" and "class 2 composite restoration". That should give you more information, and a few pictures.

Remember once, you cut a hole in a tooth, you can't ever put it back. So I suggest trying to figure out what you can do to help that cavity remineralize. Good luck to you.

Old 12-15-2009, 11:47 AM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1
ka3akctah HB User
Re: cavity between teeth

Thanks for the info, buddee.

I am curious to know how precise the ability to determine breakage of the DEJ by x-ray is, and how easy it would be to verify that the dentist was being scrupulous in his/her decision to operate.

I recently had a dentist visit at which I was told that the one tooth that was actually causing me some pain (mostly just cold sensitivity) was nothing to worry about, yet two teeth that have never caused me pain - and are clean, with healthy gums, and do not appear to have anything wrong with them - in fact share cavities between them that are at the point of needing filling.

Should I seek a second opinion? Should I ask to examine the x-ray myself? Or is this a very common circumstance for which I would be wise to simply take the dentist's advice and get the teeth filled?

Old 12-15-2009, 10:36 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 1,439
tjlhb HB Usertjlhb HB Usertjlhb HB Usertjlhb HB Usertjlhb HB User
Re: cavity between teeth

On the X-ray, the enamel will show as a lighter color than the dentin.

Decay will show as a darker color, starting from the surface and going inward.

Existing amalgam fillings will show very brightly.

I would expect a dentist to show you the X-ray and point out any spots of decay or other areas of concern.

Note that decay may not cause any pain until it reaches the pulp, in which case it is more likely that a root canal will be needed.

Last edited by tjlhb; 12-15-2009 at 10:37 PM.

Old 12-16-2009, 05:05 PM   #6
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 400
riptoff HB Userriptoff HB Userriptoff HB Userriptoff HB Userriptoff HB Userriptoff HB User
Re: cavity between teeth

Some dentists will do unnecessary work simply to increase their income, so I would be inclined to accept the dentist's opinion and keep the cavity under observation. You have to watch your sugar intake especially sodas; and floss between the teeth.
To remineralise the enamel, there are products like 'Toothmousse' but bog-standard Colgate will work. After brushing, don't rinse, just spit and leave the residue on the teeth.

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