The thought cavities bring vivid images of black or brown spots on teeth along with throbbing aches and sensitivity. Well, guess what? Although these signs show up together, there are chances you may not suffer from them even with tooth decay. When such is the case, the cavities are known to be hidden. Yes, painless cavities do exist and show up on X-rays only. They are equally dangerous; however, they pose more threats since they may go undetected.
What Are Hidden Cavities?
The most common identifying markers of cavities are pain and their appearance on teeth. However, if they grow in places that are either hard to see or clean, then dentists label them as “hidden cavities.”
They form where regular toothbrushes fail to reach, which results in plaque accumulation and consequent decay. If hidden dental caries are left as they are, they can open gates to much worse problems.
Signs of Hidden Cavities
Here are some of the common signs to watch out for:
- Temperature sensitivity: If your teeth send sharp zaps of pain when you drink anything too hot or cold, there is a high chance you have cavities.
- Toothache: Mild to sharp aches at the time of eating or drinking anything sweet, hot, or cold.
- Physical signs: Visible pits or holes that look like black dots on teeth.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Since hidden cavities often go unnoticed through the naked eye during physical examination, dentists employ X-ray technology to easily detect small lesions in their early stages.
Additionally, an Intra-Oral camera can help them see everything going on in your mouth. Do not worry about the size; the camera used is the size of a dental mirror, with images displayed on a flat screen.
Treatment of Hidden Cavities
The treatment of non-visible cavities depends on factors such as decay severity and its location. When caught early, cavities can easily be treated with:
- Fluoride Varnish: Works well in the initial stage of cavity development. The topical application remineralizes the enamel and prevents further decay.
- Dental Sealants: They are film-like coatings that are spread over the back teeth mostly since they have chewing surfaces. It helps block out bacteria and food particles.
As for advanced cavities, treatment options include:
- Dental Fillings: This route of treatment is a good option to restore damaged teeth. The filler material is inert and usually tooth-colored like composite resin to match natural teeth.
- Crowns: If a large portion of a tooth has gone bad, a crown is necessary to protect the entire tooth structure.
- Root canal treatment: Once decay reaches the pulp, the best course is to go for a root canal treatment to remove the infected tissue and save the tooth.
If hidden cavities are a new concept for you, schedule an appointment at Smile Designs Dentistry with Dr. Sanjay Kumar Vanjarapu, DDS, extensively trained by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), for more information on this and ways we can be of help. Contact us at any of the following locations: