Wisdom teeth are often referred to as third molars and, just like any other teeth, are susceptible to decay. It is a common dental issue that affects people of all ages globally, and The United States is no different in this regard. All types of teeth possess the top layer – enamel, dentin underneath, and pulp layers. Usually, when a person has a cavity, sharp shooting pains are the identifying marker that sends people to the dentist. However, a cavity might be making its way silently, too. If you see a black spot on your wisdom teeth without any pain, do not wait for it to go itself because the dot is most likely a painless cavity.
An Overview of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is a common issue that hits both children and adults. You must have adequate knowledge to recognize the signs of its initiation to take preventive measures that would avoid pain and costly treatments. Decay begins with the formation of tiny holes that may be black or brown in color. This is caused by the penetration of bacteria and acid through the enamel. However, there are times when cavities ditch their original shape and form black lines on teeth, too.
Why Are Cavities Mostly Painful?
Pain and sensitivity are two common markers of cavities, but they may not be apparent until the decay progresses significantly into the deeper layers of your wisdom teeth. The second layer of dentin and all the surfaces from there house nerve endings and are sensitive to external factors. Once the hole is deep enough, stimuli trigger the nerves that send sharp shooting pain.
When Does A Wisdom Tooth Cavity Not Cause Pain?
An early-stage cavity starts in the enamel, which lacks sensitive nerves, making it immune to pain. It is when the bacteria goes deeper into the dentin layer that a sharp shooting sensitivity pain arises. Regular dental checkups are crucial for detecting these painless cavities and preventing further decay.
Other Signs of Cavity Growth
- White spots on teeth
- Brown or black dots on the enamel
- Visible decay on X-rays
- Holes in the teeth
- Sensitivity to pressure
- Halitosis or bad breath
- Persistent bad taste in the mouth
- Swollen face
Why Wisdom Teeth Are Vulnerable to Cavities?
According to dental care experts, it is because of the following reasons:
Since wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to erupt, their position puts them at a disadvantage. Unfortunately, their location (back of the mouth) makes it challenging to access during regular cleaning that involves brushing and flossing. This creates an environment suitable for plaque buildup and, therefore, increases the risk of developing cavities.
Area Difficult to Reach
You have limited hand movement, and the size-to-mouth ratio makes flossing around wisdom teeth a very taxing task that is mostly achievable without external help. Inadequate oral hygiene for these teeth contributes to their increased susceptibility to cavities.
Diagnosis and Tests
Regular dental checkups scheduled twice a year play a pivotal role in diagnosing cavities early. Dental care specialists are equipped with state-of-the-art tools to not only thoroughly clean but also examine teeth. This checkup also includes probing for softness and may also use X-rays to identify cavities before they become visible.
Treatment Options We Offer for Cavities
You can trust oral health professionals to assess your condition and make the right call regarding treatment. Available options include:
We remove the decayed part of the teeth and clean the hollow. Once done, the hole in the wisdom tooth is filled with materials like composite resin, silver amalgam, or gold.
Root Canal Therapy
This procedure is performed by endodontists. They are specialized in removing the tooth pulp and filling the canals with a filler material. Once done, they may also place a dental crown to strengthen the tooth further.
Consider it more like a preventive measure for protecting your teeth. Fluoride treatments can reverse a cavity in the enamel in the early stages. You can get prescribed toothpaste, mouthwash, and in-office fluoride treatments.
When root canal therapy is not feasible, extraction may be recommended. Do not worry about your missing teeth since there are multiple replacement options, such as dental bridges or implants that can be discussed.
Preventing Wisdom Teeth Cavities
Prevention is better than cure, and these simple practices can make a significant difference:
- Brush your teeth with fluoride-infused toothpaste at least 2 times a day or after every meal.
- Steer clear of having edibles that are loaded with sugar and starch.
- Do not skip flossing daily to remove food and plaque between teeth.
- Schedule regular dental checkups biannually or more frequently if prone to dental issues.
- Plan to get dental sealants to protect chewing surfaces.
- Eat a balanced diet since it not only contributes to overall health but also impacts oral health. Nutrient-rich foods are good for strengthening teeth and gums, reducing susceptibility to decay.
- Keep up with your level of hydration by drinking an adequate amount of water. It is crucial for maintaining saliva production. Saliva helps neutralize acids, cleanse the mouth, and remineralize enamel.
- Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production and flow, which can help wash away bacteria and neutralize acids. You can look for gums that contain xylitol, a sugar substitute known for its dental benefits.
- Do not skip regular dental checkups since they serve as a vital tool for early detection of cavities and other oral health issues. Couple it with professional cleanings and examinations for the best oral care routine.
Regular dental checkups can spot early painless cavities, which can be treated before they turn into more serious complications. In time, professional intervention can prevent the progression of cavities, ensuring a healthy smile. You can contact the pioneer of Trinity Dental Centers, Dr. Amjad Sheikh, to guide you according to your specific situation. We can pull you through this journey, restoring your smile with precision and care. Dial (281) 724-4510 to connect with us.