Cavities are such a pain to deal with, but how serious are they really? How long can a cavity go untreated? Obviously, they should be treated, but how long can you really wait it out? We answer just that and provide additional clarity below.
What Is a Cavity?
Cavities are nothing more than decay from a buildup of bacteria. Left untreated for too long this can expose the more sensitive parts of teeth and can cause significant pain.
Cavities occur when cleaning of the teeth isn’t done effectively and bacteria that aren’t killed by toothpaste grow on your teeth. They love to feed on the sugars from sugary foods like chocolate and ice cream and produce the acid that eventually creates holes in the enamel on your teeth and can cause you pain.
How Long Can a Cavity Go Untreated?
Like most ailments, the longer you leave a cavity without treatment, the worse it’s going to get. In a span of 3-6 months cavities can reach the nerve of your tooth.
That’s not good. Really not good.
That’s by no means a definitive point either. How quickly a cavity worsens entirely depends on your oral care habits and what you eat. If you eat sugary foods with poor oral care your cavity will worsen significantly faster.
It’s absolutely in your best interests to get a cavity treated as quickly as possible to avoid even worse future pain. It’s even more so at this particular time of year since dental benefits will transition at the end of December so it’s a good idea use them up before next year.
If the reason you don’t want to get your cavity treated is because you’re afraid to go to the dentist, you’re not alone. Other people also share your fear, but if you let the dentist know before you start that you have dental anxiety they can better help you to make the experience less fear-inducing and help you relax.
How Are Cavities Treated by Dentists?
In most cases, cavities are treated through the use of fillings. To ensure you’re not in pain during the procedure, you’ll be given local anesthetic or “freezing” to numb the area around your affected teeth.
The decay will then be removed and filled in with a material to replace the decayed area. This used to be silver or gold, nowadays though this is more commonly natural-looking resin or porcelain that is much less noticeable.
Don’t leave your cavities untreated and get them removed as soon as possible, especially with the benefits period ending for many people at the end of this calendar year.