Holes in teeth are cavities, also called tooth decay. You may notice small holes in the teeth that become larger gradually when left untreated. Tooth decay and cavities don’t cause significant pain in the early stages, making it challenging for you to realize a problem exists in your mouth. However, regular dental exams help detect tooth decay early.
Cavities and tooth decay are the most common health problems globally, according to experts. Anyone with teeth can develop holes, including babies. Realizing that you have a cavity may surprise you, especially if you think you have a good oral hygiene routine. However, even after your dentist informs you about the cavity, there are ways to treat and prevent additional cavities from forming.
Cavities result from plaque, a sticky substance binding to your teeth. Plaque is a combination of food particles, bacteria, saliva, and acids. Bacteria are present in everyone’s mouths. After eating or drinking sugary foods or beverages, the bacteria in your mouth convert the sugar into acids. As a result, plaque begins forming on your teeth soon after drinking or eating anything sugary. It is why regular brushing is essential.
Plaque sticks to your teeth, releasing toxins that slowly erode tooth enamel. Enamel is the hard protective layer on your teeth, functioning as a barrier against tooth decay; as the enamel weakens, the risk for decay increases.
Everyone is at risk of holes in their teeth, but some people are at a higher risk. The risk factors include:
Your molars are the primary victims of holes in the teeth. These teeth are vulnerable because they have grooves and fissures trapping food particles. Molars are also challenging to clean when brushing and flossing.
If you have a hole in your tooth, you must talk to your dentist about uncomfortable symptoms like tooth sensitivity or pain. Your dentist identifies tooth decay during a dental exam. However, some holes are not visible to the naked eye and require x-rays to detect them.
You must repair the hole immediately after receiving information from the dentist about its existence. The treatment options are available depending on the severity of your condition. There are various options to treat holes. They are:
Dentists utilize a dental drill for decay removal from the tooth before filling it with substances like silver, gold, or composite resin.
If the decay in your tooth is severe and has caused a large cavity, your dentist can repair the tooth using a custom-made tooth cap over the tooth to replace its natural crown. The decayed tooth material needs removal before starting this procedure besides grinding the top and sides of the tooth to accommodate the dental crown.
If severe tooth decay causes your nerves to die, the dentist performs root canal therapy to save your tooth. First, the dentist removes the nerve tissue, blood vessel tissues, and decayed areas of the tooth and checks for infections to apply medication to the roots if required. Finally, the dentist fills and seals the tooth and recommends placing a dental crown over it for protection.
If your dentist detects holes in your teeth early, they can restore the tooth enamel, providing fluoride treatments to prevent further decay. However, if you have already developed a hole, there are alternatives available to repair the spot to avoid additional damage.
Holes in teeth and tooth decay can cause significant pain and discomfort. You may want to manage the irritation as you wait for your dentist’s appointment. In the meanwhile, use the following tips to manage the pain temporarily.
Continue brushing and cleaning all parts of your mouth, including the sensitive areas.
Check with your dentist whether you can use over-the-counter anesthetics.
Refrain from having scorching or cold foods when eating or drinking.
Holes in your teeth can cause complications if left untreated. They can result in continuing tooth pain, dental abscess, increased risks of chipping and breaking the tooth, and challenges chewing food. In addition, you cause irreversible damage to your tooth if you put off visits to your dentist. In the final stages, your dentist has only one option to treat the cavity: to extract the tooth for replacements with a dental implant or dental bridge.