5 Stages of Cavities

Smiling blond woman in dental chair for an exam and cleaning.

Visiting our friendly team every six months for a routine cleaning and exam can make all the difference when it comes to catching or treating tooth decay. Tooth decay, also known as a cavity, doesn’t just appear overnight. To learn about the five stages of cavities, keep reading!

Stage 1: Demineralization

The outer layer of your teeth is known as the enamel. Enamel is the hardest tissue in the body and is mainly made of minerals. The first trace of decay is when chalky white areas on the surface of the tooth appear. These chalky spots are caused by loss of calcium and the build-up of plaque.

Stage 2: Enamel Decay

When the enamel is weak due to demineralization, decay of the enamel can occur. Enamel decay breaks down underneath the tooth’s surface and can appear dark and be the place for a cavity to form.

Stage 3: Dentin Decay

Under the enamel, there is a layer of dentin between the enamel and the pulp of the tooth. Once the decay reaches the dentin, you may begin to experience pain or sensitivity. At this point, the tooth will require a dental filling to protect it from further damage.

Stage 4: Pulp Decay or Damage

At this stage, significant pain is likely to be felt since the pulp is the innermost layer of the tooth. The pulp contains the blood vessels and nerve endings. Typically, root canal therapy is the only way to save the natural tooth while relieving pain symptoms.

Stage 5: Dental Abscess

When the pain and discomfort of the prior stages are ignored or necessary care is delayed, bacteria will continue to grow and infect the tooth. It can even cause an abscess, an infection of the tooth’s root. An abscess can damage the gums and surrounding teeth.

Restorative Dentistry at Hillstream Dental

Are you experiencing tooth pain or discomfort? You may have a cavity that is progressing in its stages. It’s best to schedule a visit with our team in either Rochester Hills or St. Clair Shores for a thorough evaluation. Dental decay won’t go away on its own. Correcting cavities in their early stages is much easier and ignoring them just makes things worse. Give our office a call to schedule your appointment!

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Hillstream Dental

Hillstream Dental