There are numerous methods available to remove cavities. Are you currently noticing an unfamiliar dark blemish on your teeth when you glance in the mirror, or have you recently begun to experience unexplained tooth discomfort? Are you uncertain whether what you’re experiencing is actually a dental cavity?
You have landed in the right spot. I’m here to assist you in determining whether you have cavities or some other dental condition, and to provide you with possible solutions tailored to your specific situation.
As a dentist, I want to emphasize that no amount of reading can replace a consultation with a professional. The mouth is a cramped and dimly lit space, and even the most diligent at-home examination may overlook a tiny cavity that can later develop into a more significant problem, resulting in increased discomfort and treatment expenses.
That being said, there are certain signs and symptoms you can look out for that may indicate the presence of cavities. If you’ve noticed discoloration or staining on your teeth, or if you’ve been experiencing unexplained pain or sensitivity, it’s important to get a professional opinion as soon as possible.
How do you know if you have cavities?
To begin with, I will outline a number of symptoms and warning signs that can indicate the presence of cavities, as well as offer some practical tips to help you identify them.
1. Do you have a particular tooth pain?
However, it’s important to note that tooth sensitivity is not always indicative of tooth decay; in fact, it’s a relatively common occurrence. To distinguish between the two, pay attention to the nature of the pain. If the discomfort is generalised and affects all your teeth, or if consuming something icy triggers the same type of pain on both sides of your mouth, you’re most likely experiencing sensitivity. On the other hand, if the pain is localised and seems to be coming from a single tooth, and if you also experience new symptoms like discomfort when consuming sweet or hot foods, it’s highly probable that you have a cavity. In this case, it’s imperative that you seek treatment from a dentist as soon as possible.
2. You see a black stain on your teeth
If you notice a black stain on your teeth, especially on your molars, there are two possible explanations: it could be a stain in the grooves, which closely resembles a cavity, or it could be an actual dental cavity.
Determining which of these two conditions you’re experiencing is difficult to do at home. A professional dental examination is typically required to confirm the presence of a cavity or to identify the blemish as a stain. The use of an intraoral mirror and a special light, both of which are available in the dental office, can help detect cavities that are invisible to the naked eye.
Dentists also use a device called an explorer to gently run over the surface of the tooth and see if a small dust-like material comes out or if the surface is smooth and shiny, which can further assist in distinguishing between a stain and a cavity.
3. You see a white stain on your teeth
It can be difficult to determine whether a blemish on your tooth has always been present or if it has recently appeared.
Dental cavities initially appear as white spots on the tooth’s surface. However, people often disregard these early warning signs, which can lead to more extensive dental decay later on. Treating cavities at this early stage is much more cost-effective and comfortable for the patient.
If you notice a white spot around an orthodontic bracket, an area where bacterial plaque is present, or near the gum line, it’s likely that the spot is an active cavity in its initial white spot stage.
White spots that are present from birth are typically located in areas that are easy to brush, such as the edge of a tooth, and their surface is typically shiny.
4. Obtain a regular X-ray examination.
Panoramic radiography can provide a comprehensive view of your teeth, enabling the detection of various issues, including cavities.
If you notice tiny black holes in the areas that cause sensitivity on your X-ray, it is highly likely that you have cavities. For a more precise and less distorted view of cavities, bite-wing X-rays are recommended.
Bite-wing X-rays can be taken for both front teeth and molars.
How are cavities removed?
There are appropriate and inappropriate ways of addressing the issue, and the appropriate approach is to schedule an appointment with a specialized dentist.
1. Fluoride application and improve oral hygiene
This type of treatment is most effective during the early stages of cavity development, known as the white spot phase. To treat these early-stage cavities, it is crucial to seek professional dental care. A specialized dentist can perform a deep cleaning and apply fluoride treatments to the affected teeth. Fluoride treatments can be administered in either gel or varnish form, with varnish being the preferred option due to its ability to adhere to the tooth surface and release fluoride over an extended period of time.
In addition to professional treatment, it is essential to evaluate one’s brushing habits and identify any areas that may be consistently missed during brushing. If orthodontic treatment is a factor, consulting with an orthodontist can be beneficial in identifying tools or techniques that can make brushing easier and more effective.
One highly recommended tool for maintaining optimal oral health is an oral irrigator. Waterpik is a brand that is widely known and trusted for its effectiveness in pressure washing the teeth and gums, especially for those with braces, bridges, and dental implants. While the cost of an oral irrigator may be high, the investment is worthwhile considering the time and money already spent on dental care. Seeking professional dental care and adopting a thorough oral care routine can help prevent the need for more invasive and costly dental procedures in the future.
2. Mechanical caries removal
Once cavities have progressed to the point where they have formed a small hole, treatment with fluoride and cleaning is no longer effective. Instead, the cavities must be completely removed, along with any infected dentin. Typically, this is accomplished using a bur that operates at a low revolution to prevent the nerve from overheating. To remove the carious material, I like to use a polycarboxylate bur, which is made of a material similar to acrylic and does not damage the surrounding teeth.
In some cases, it may be necessary to remove a small amount of the surrounding tooth to ensure that the resin is properly adapted, or because the surrounding tooth has become discolored. This can be done for aesthetic reasons.
3. Removal of cavities with creams
Certain dental creams contain enzymes that specifically target and remove cavities. These creams can be particularly useful for patients who are very anxious or for children who may require a more gentle approach to caries removal.
4. Remove cavities with laser treatment
Using a laser to selectively remove cavities without harming the dentin is an option in dentistry, but its high cost doesn’t always justify its use, especially when additional bur carving is needed to ensure a proper restoration. Due to these limitations, the laser hasn’t had the same impact on dentistry as other treatments and materials.
5. Removal of cavities with home remedies
The following are common home remedies found on the web for removing dental cavities, which I strongly advise against. It’s important to note that dental remedies are not the same as remedies for other parts of the body, as enamel doesn’t regenerate or heal on its own. Cavities can advance rapidly, and delaying proper treatment can result in more costly and painful problems. Furthermore, these home remedies are ineffective in removing cavities, and specialized dental equipment is necessary for their treatment.
Cloves are often suggested for their antiseptic properties, as they have been used for centuries by our ancestors. It was even common practice to insert a nail directly into a large cavity. However, the strong components of cloves can actually burn the dental nerve, causing damage similar to that caused by battery fluid. Therefore, caution should be exercised when using cloves as a dental remedy.
One of the most astonishing things that still exist is the use of battery fluid to treat dental cavities. This dangerous technique can burn not only the cavity but also the surrounding gum and nerve. Although people may stop feeling pain as the nerve is burned, it can cause serious long-term damage to the tooth, nerve, and even the bone. Moreover, battery fluid is a toxic substance that should never be used for any dental treatment as it can severely harm a person’s health.
On some websites, it is suggested that garlic can help to eliminate cavities due to its antiseptic properties. While garlic can be beneficial for heart health and boosting the immune system, it is not recommended for cavity treatment. Additionally, the strong odor of garlic can worsen the unpleasant symptoms of a cavity and make the experience uncomfortable and unpleasant.