Why would a dentist see an early cavity and not do anything about it? The answer involves some basic understanding about two terms: microcaries and remineralization. You may be familiar with the term caries, it is simply another word for cavities. Microcaries are just as the name suggests, a tiny and beginning area of decay. This is at the early stage of a cavity when the area of damage has not gone beyond the outer enamel of the tooth. Rather, it is just a small etching of decalcified enamel.
If left alone, microcaries can go one of two ways. It may progress to cause a hole in the dentin layer of the tooth, which will require a dental filling in order to protect the sensitive inner pulp of the tooth. However, microcaries may also be halted by your body’s remarkable ability to heal itself. Specifically, when remineralization occurs, early cavities can be “reversed” without the need for a filling.
Now let’s understand what remineralization is and what it is not. Remineralization does not mean that your tooth grows new enamel. Your body can only replace dentin, not enamel. However, it does mean that the minerals in your natural saliva can lay down a protective layer on the small etchings (microcaries) and prevent the decay from penetrating or advancing further.
Remineralization doesn’t just happen for everyone. If you’ve been told you have microcaries or an early cavity, it is important that you do everything you can to promote the remineralization process. This includes:
- Eating a diet that is rich in calcium, phosphorous, Vitamin D3
- Avoiding processed foods, sugar and diet sodas that deplete minerals
- Attend your routine checkup for careful monitoring
- Brush and floss diligently
At Gainesville Dental Group, we offer the most preferred solutions for treating cavities. However, we also recognize times in which a “watch and wait” method can be employed for a very early cavity. Remember, you are not likely to feel or see a cavity at its initial stages of development, so it is highly important that you maintain your routine dental checkups. Call today to schedule yours! Early detection means more conservative treatment.
Posted on behalf of Gainesville Dental Group