Just like everyone else, you like to enjoy a sweet treat now and then. The summer months are filled with cookouts that serve everything from potato chips and hamburgers to cobblers and cake. When visiting the dentist for a checkup, you may discover that your indulgence in these sweet and starchy snacks has caused a cavity between your teeth. But how can one form in such a small area? A dentist is here to explain how to know if you have one and what you can do to prevent them in the first place.
What is an Interproximal Cavity?
As a term commonly used by dental professionals, an interproximal cavity forms between teeth. Just like any other cavity, it forms when the enamel is broken down by bacteria and harmful acids. Once it adheres to the tooth, it embeds into what is known as plaque, resulting in a cavity.
You may be unable to know if you have one of these cavities, as they are hard to see. However, when visiting a dentist, they will use diagnostic imaging to pinpoint the problem area and identify an appropriate way to treat the decayed tooth.
What Symptoms Are Linked to Interproximal Cavities?
Although you may be unable to see this type of cavity forming in your mouth, various symptoms can signal that there might be a problem, such as:
- Increased tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking anything hot or cold or eating sweets
- Difficulty chewing
- Tooth pain
- Staining of a particular tooth
What Can My Dentist Do To Help?
Whether you realize that you might have a cavity between your teeth, or you find out when visiting your dentist’s office for a checkup, it’s important that you receive the necessary restorative care to address the problem.
Your dentist will likely take digital scans of your teeth to identify the cavity before creating a treatment plan that details how they plan to improve your smile.
Depending on the severity of your decay, it may be necessary that your dentist recommend:
- Fluoride treatment to help with recalcification
- A tooth-colored filling to improve the aesthetics and use of the tooth
- Root canal therapy to remove the infection and pain, and save the tooth from extraction
- A dental crown if the decay has penetrated beyond the enamel and into the dentin layer
- Tooth extraction if the decay is too severe that the tooth cannot be saved
How Can I Avoid Interproximal Cavities?
To prevent this type of cavity from forming, it’s important that you maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Staying on top of your twice-daily brushing as well as flossing and rinsing is essential to ensure bacteria and harmful particles are removed. You’ll also want to limit your consumption of sugary and starchy foods and beverages so that bacteria cannot adhere and begin to break down tooth enamel.
Interproximal cavities don’t have to be a problem as long as you commit to taking proper care of your teeth. Partnering with your dentist can be a worthwhile approach to maintaining a healthier smile year-round.
About the Author
Dr. Monica Boehmer is a family dentist with more than 20 years of experience. Helping patients of all ages, she and her dental team are pleased to offer preventive services designed to stop problems before they start. While detecting cavities early on is the goal, she and her team can provide effective solutions should one form on or between teeth. If you are struggling with tooth pain and need assistance, contact us at (505) 271-8009.