Image Dental Blog


Friday, February 27, 2015

Why You Shouldn't Ignore Untreated Cavities or Tooth Decay

Let's Talk Facts First

A 2012 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics found that one in every five Americans has an untreated cavity.

The American Dental Association cited how more people are on Medicaid, but many states have cut back dental coverage in their Medicaid programs to save money.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that tooth decay caused by cavities is one of the most common types of chronic diseases.

20 percent of children, ages 5 to 11, had untreated cavities. 13 percent of young people, ages 12 to 19, had untreated cavities, while adults, ages 20 to 44, were at a whopping 25 percent.

What happens if a cavity remains untreated? 

When someone has an untreated cavity, bacteria attack the enamel of the tooth. However, a dentist can treat this with a fluoride treatment. If the cavity is left untreated, the bacteria can affect the dentin part of the tooth.

When decay reaches the dentin, you may experience pain. To stop more damage from happening, you need to get the cavity filled.

If the cavity is not filled, then decay will progress to the nerves and blood vessels, which will likely mean a root canal, followed by a crown.

If a cavity still goes untreated, the infected pulp will eventually die, which leads to an abscess. This causes severe pain and swelling around the tooth. It can progress to the point where your tooth cannot be saved and will have to be pulled.

While a cavity cannot kill you, an untreated bacterial infection anywhere in your body, including your mouth, can possibly be fatal. Even if the cavity is not treated, you should at least get an antibiotic to treat the infection.

Did you know: Many folks may not realize that when a tooth gets cavity, the bacteria that caused the cavity can spread to another tooth and cause a new cavity.

Over time, untreated cavities can also lead to possible serious problems with your jawbone.

Tooth Decay is a Highly Preventable and Treatable Situation 

The good news is that early treatment can stop new cavities from spreading. As mentioned earlier, if a cavity is caught early on, a tooth-colored filling or composite bonding can stop the problem from getting worse. However, if the cavity is larger, then a root canal and crown may be needed.

Of course, the best way to prevent cavities and tooth decay is early detection by a dentist. These days, dentists use high-tech equipment like X-rays, Spectra (ultraviolet light) and the Planmeca ProMax 3D Mid, which takes very detailed dental X-rays without people having to bite down on X-ray film.

It’s important to remember that a cavity will not fix itself. While it may seem like a minor problem today, a cavity will only get worse and worse if left untreated.

You can avoid serious and expensive complications by getting your cavity treated as soon as possible. Stop waiting and make an appointment with an experienced dentist today so that you don’t have to needlessly suffer in the future.

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