Can I Leave My Cavities Unfilled?

The short answer is no. Or at least, it is a very bad idea. On occasion, a dentist may tell you that a certain tooth needs to be “watched.” This usually means that a cavity is in its early stage and may not fully develop if the tooth is cared for properly. However, once the condition reaches the state of a cavity and the damage is permanent, it must be filled. To understand why, though, you need to know how cavities form and what will happen if a cavity is allowed to continue unchecked. Let’s take a closer look at cavities, why people avoid taking care of them, and why it is so important to get cavities filled.

How Does a Cavity Form?

Cavities are formed by tooth decay over a period of time. Decay is caused by bacteria and acidic conditions that allow bacteria to thrive. When we brush and floss, we remove much of the harmful bacteria. That’s why proper care on a daily basis is vital for cavity prevention.

Sugary foods, sodas, and other highly acidic foods and beverages speed up the growth of bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria results in plaque and eventually tartar. The bacteria destroy the minerals that make up tooth enamel, the protective layer on the outside of a tooth. A cavity occurs when enamel has been worn away to the point that the tooth is permanently pitted.

What Can Happen if I Don’t Get It Filled?

Unfortunately, once a cavity forms, you can’t reverse the damage simply by brushing and flossing.

Eventually, the tooth will continue to decay. With the protective enamel gone, infection can set in. Once this infection reaches the roots of the tooth, a root canal will be necessary to remove the infected part of the root and avoid tooth death or loss.

Ultimately, filling cavities save time, money, and pain. No one wants to have to go to the dentist multiple times to have an expensive procedure like a root canal followed by having to get a crown to protect the tooth. Instead, it is a far easier procedure to get the cavity filled.

Why Some Avoid Filling Cavities

There are usually two main reasons: expense and fear. If you have insurance, even state-issued insurance, cavities should be covered. At most, you will have a small copay. Root canals and crowns are rarely covered by insurance, so getting cavities filled is the smart option.

Don’t let fear keep you out of the dentist’s chair. Getting a cavity filled is a simple and virtually painless procedure due to modern medicine and numbing procedures. Ask your dentist what options are available to make you more comfortable during your visit.