Reviewed by Dr. Gary Morris, DDS

Cavities lurk in the dark spaces we forget to clean and nibble away at our enamel. Even worse, interproximal cavities (cavities that form between two teeth) can be particularly sneaky—and harmful—if not caught early.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the signs of cavities in those tight spaces and provide tips on how to prevent, treat, and manage cavities to keep your oral health in check.

What Is an Interproximal Cavity?

This type of tooth decay occurs in the tight spaces between your teeth. A hole or pit forms when food particles, sugary substances, and harmful bacteria cling to your teeth. Dental plaque starts to build up, and it eats away at your enamel, causing decay to spread to deeper layers of your teeth.

Why Do We Get Them?

If not removed through oral hygiene practices, the plaque buildup erodes your tooth enamel and exposes the deeper layers of your teeth, where cavities can develop. 

Flossing is your secret weapon for removing plaque and food particles from between your teeth.

If we brush diligently but neglect to floss, we leave approximately one-third of our teeth uncleaned, where food particles and plaque accumulate! 

Plaque, a sticky bacterial film, thrives on leftover sugars in the mouth and produces acids as a byproduct. These acids attack the protective enamel of our teeth, and cavities can form.

Key Takeaway

Interproximal cavities form in the hard-to-reach areas between your teeth due to plaque buildup. These cavities can be particularly harmful if not detected and treated early. Regular dental hygiene practices, such as brushing, flossing, and regular check-ups, are part of prevention. Treatments may range from dental fillings to tooth extractions based on the severity of the decay.

How Do I Know That I Have a Cavity Between My Teeth?

Cavities between teeth can be a challenge to spot. Keep an eye out for these common symptoms:

  • Tooth pain: A cavity can cause sharp, sudden pain when biting down or chewing. If you experience this type of pain, it may be a sign that the decay has progressed to deeper layers of your tooth.
  • Tooth sensitivity: You may feel increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks as the decay compromises the protective layer of enamel on your teeth.
  • Visible hole or pit: In some cases, you may see a hole or pit between your teeth. If you notice this, schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible.
  • Dark spots or stains: As the cavity progresses, it can cause discoloration on the surface of your tooth.
  • Bad breath: The bacteria and acids produced by plaque can also cause bad breath, which may indicate tooth decay.

If you experience these signs, visit your dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Left untreated, they can lead to more severe issues like infection or tooth loss.

Prevention Tips to Avoid Cavities

The best way to prevent cavities is to maintain good oral hygiene practices.

  • Brush twice daily: Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Thoroughly clean all the surfaces of your teeth while brushing for two minutes.
  • Floss daily: Your toothbrush can’t reach everywhere, so floss or use a Waterpik to remove plaque and food particles between your teeth.
  • Use mouthwash: Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen your breath.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Limit acidic and sugary food and drinks, which can contribute to plaque buildup. Instead, choose healthier options like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
  • Regular dental checkups: Visit your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning to detect any early signs of cavities.

Treatment Options for Interproximal Cavities

We do our best to prevent cavities, but sometimes, they still sneak in. Here are some treatment options your dentist may recommend:

  • Dental fillings: A simple dental filling can restore the damaged tooth if the cavity is caught early.
  • Root canal therapy: When the decay has reached the nerves and blood vessels inside your tooth, a root canal may be necessary to remove the infected tissue and save the tooth.
  • Dental crown: For more severe decay, a custom-made cap called a dental crown may be placed to cover and protect the damaged tooth from further decay.
  • Tooth extraction: In severe cases, the decay may have damaged your tooth beyond repair, and extraction may be necessary. Your dentist will discuss options for replacing the missing tooth.

To learn more about these treatments, read our blog, Understanding Dental Treatments: Root Canal vs. Filling vs. Crown.

Your Buffalo Grove Dentist

Interproximal cavities may be sneaky, but you can keep them at bay with the proper knowledge and preventative measures.

At Morris Dental Solutions, we’re committed to helping you maintain optimal oral health. If you suspect a cavity, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced dentists before it becomes a bigger problem. Our comprehensive services and compassionate care will keep your smile healthy and bright.

Call (847) 215-1511 to book an appointment with the best dentist in Buffalo Grove, IL. Your smile will thank you!

If you are searching for a ‘dentist me,’ contact Morris Dental Solutions.

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