As much as it pains us to admit, many people avoid the dentist. We regularly hear from patients who assume –– and rightfully so –– that regular brushing and flossing should keep their teeth healthy enough. This is especially true if they don’t experience any tooth pain. However, no pain does not always equal no problem. Dental cavities can be sneaky, and waiting until you feel pain to visit the dentist can turn a simple filling procedure into a necessary root canal. Dental cavities that hide between the teeth are the sneakiest of all! These cavities are known as interproximal cavities and tend to surprise patients with even the best oral hygiene habits. By understanding interproximal cavities, you can better prepare for your next cleaning and even prevent dental decay down the road.
Understanding Interproximal Cavities
Your dentist will diagnose interproximal cavities with the help of a bite-wing x-ray. This is a very important part of early detection and will allow your dentist to see the severity of the dental cavity. Some dental cavities can be detected visually, but without an x-ray, it’s hard to determine the depth of the cavity.
The severity of the cavity determines the recommended course of treatment. If an interproximal dental cavity is found early enough, it can be recalcified with fluoride gel. Your dentist will need to fill the cavity, though, if the decay has penetrated more deeply into the tooth enamel. Occasionally, a cavity may reach the inside of the tooth and require more intensive treatment like a root canal and dental crown.
Interproximal Cavity Symptoms
It’s certainly possible to have an interproximal cavity and not find out till you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair during a regular cleaning and exam. That’s why it’s important to keep up with regular appointments with your general dentist.
However, there are a few symptoms that may point to the possibility that you’re suffering from a dental cavity between the teeth. These symptoms can include:
- Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures: If you’re experiencing new sensitivity to temperature, consider reaching out to your dentist to see if a cavity may be to blame.
- Tooth sensitivity to certain foods, especially sugary food: Foods don’t typically cause sensitivity, but when tooth decay damages the enamel and pulp of the tooth, your teeth will suddenly be more sensitive to what you eat. Your dentist will be able to help determine the cause of the sensitivity, but an interproximal cavity is certainly a possibility.
- Pain or problems with biting or chewing: Biting and chewing should not be painful. If you’re experiencing pain, your body may be trying to tell you that something is not right. Dental x-rays would be beneficial in determining the cause of alignment or bite issues.
Treating and Preventing Interproximal Cavities
When it comes to interproximal cavities –– or really any kind of dental health issues –– prevention is key. The best thing you can do to prevent interproximal cavities is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing at least twice a day, flossing every day, and visiting your general dentist every six months for a cleaning and an exam.
As we mentioned previously, treatment for interproximal cavities depends largely on the size and severity of the cavity. The vast majority of cavities can be treated with a routine dental filling, but sometimes further treatment is needed.
That’s where we come in. Here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado, our team specializes in root canal therapy. We prioritize saving your natural tooth, relieving your pain, removing any existing infection, and restoring your smile for years to come.
With care conveniently located in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, the help you need is just a phone call away. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation and learn how we can transform your smile!