What Happens When You Ignore a Cavity?

A cavity is an actual hole in your tooth caused by tooth enamel damage that has allowed bacteria to cause decay. Cavities always start out small and can progress over time to compromise your entire tooth. Although it may be tempting to ignore that small cavity when your dentist says you need a filling, here’s what will happen if you do!

The Cavity Will Progress

Cavities almost always progress into a larger problem. Since the tooth enamel is already damaged in this area, it allows bacteria and acids to continue to chip away at the tooth. This continued damage can lead to further decay that can eventually affect the interior of your tooth, which contains nerves and blood vessels.

There are different stages of cavities. Tooth decay typically begins with a white spot on the tooth, which can indicate early enamel damage, and then it can progress to a brown spot, which will eventually become a hole in your tooth—this is permanent damage that needs a filling to fix [1].

You Could See an Infection

Once the cavity has progressed past the point of your dentin, which is the softer layer of tissue beneath your tooth enamel, it can affect the core of your tooth. Generally, tooth decay that reaches the center of the tooth has been going on for some time, and once it reaches this inner chamber, and infection can happen [2].

If you ignore a cavity for long enough and experience an infection, your tooth may also begin to change color and appear brown or gray from the outside, which is indicative that your nerve tissue has been infected or damaged by decay or trauma.

The Tooth Will Eventually Require Extraction

Once the cavity reaches the center of your tooth, you’ll either need root canal therapy or an extraction to fix the problem. Your dentist can let you know whether or not your tooth can be saved, although it generally depends on how large the cavity is, your oral health, and other factors.

Cavities are one of the most common reasons for a tooth extraction, however, they are entirely preventable and treatable [3]. If you suspect you have a cavity or your dentist tells you that you have one, don’t hesitate in getting it filled—it can save your tooth!

Don’t Ignore a Cavity!

If you have cavity, schedule an appointment with your dentist to treat the problem—don’t let tooth decay ruin your smile! Cavities are generally painless to fix and don’t require much time at your dentist’s office, so take the time now to fix your cavity while you still can!

Sources:
1. https://medlineplus.gov/toothdecay.html
2. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-care-concerns/how-do-we-prevent-cavities
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7178127/

Summary
What Happens When You Ignore a Cavity?
Article Name
What Happens When You Ignore a Cavity?
Description
Cavities always start out small and can progress over time to compromise your entire tooth. Although it may be tempting to ignore that small cavity when your dentist says you need a filling, here’s what will happen if you do!
Author
Centreville Dental Wellness Center