Downey Park Family Dentistry is excited to announce that our offices are reopen to serve our community. We are taking additional special measures to ensure the health and safety of our patients and team, and appreciate your understanding that things will look and function a bit differently in our office for the time being.
A cavity that develops between the teeth is known as an interproximal cavity. These cavities are very common because while people may be diligent about brushing their teeth, most people neglect to adequately or regularly floss.
This leads to cavities between the teeth, in the same way, that plaque and left behind food particles lead to cavities on the surfaces of the teeth. To find out more about how to prevent them, recognize the symptoms, and treat them, read on.
Cavities can form on any surface of the teeth and typically when patients get cavities between their teeth, it means that though they may be regularly brushing, they’re neglecting to floss. However, 35% of the surface of your teeth lies between your teeth!
Every time you forget to floss, you’re only cleaning ⅔ of your teeth, leaving an entire ⅓ to harbor food particles and plaque buildup. Plaque feeds off of left behind sugars in the mouth and converts them into acids.
These acids attack your enamel and form cavities. If you thoroughly brush but forget to floss, then you will have a disproportionate amount of food particles and plaque between the teeth, leading to a cavity that forms between the teeth.
As you could probably imagine, if these cavities are caused by improper oral hygiene, then to prevent it, you’ll want to ensure you thoroughly brush and floss every day. Brush your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Brush gently in circular motions, holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brushing the front, back, and chewing surfaces of the teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day. Don’t forget to brush your tongue.
You should be flossing at least once a day, paying special attention to the rear molars, which are more prone to cavities because of their pits and grooves. Floss in a zig-zag motion between all of the teeth in the upper and lower arches.
You should also consider getting dental sealants, which are recommended as soon as you get your first and second primary molars. Sealants are plastic coatings that create a smoother surface, blocking out plaque and bacteria and making it easier to thoroughly brush the molars. This reduces your risk of cavities.
Unfortunately, cavities that form between the teeth can be hard to spot until the decay has already penetrated through the dentin layer of the tooth. Dentin is the second tissue layer that lays beneath the tooth enamel.
Once decay has reached the dentin layer, it will progress much faster. Dentinal tubules are connected to the tooth's nerves and are responsible for sensation. At this point, you will start displaying symptoms, such as:
How an interproximal cavity is treated depends on the severity of the decay. If caught early, we would administer a local anesthetic, drill out the decay, and place a filling. However, if the cavity has been left untreated for too long and decay is severe, we may need to perform a pulpotomy or an extraction. Large fillings may require the placement of a dental crown on top.
If your child has any symptoms of cavities between their teeth, contact us at First Smiles Children's Dentistry to make an appointment. We can examine their teeth and take x-rays to get a look at the extent of the decay and discuss your child’s options.