TLDR: You should get a cavity filled as soon as possible. Not doing so will increase the risk of further tooth decay that can lead to permanent jaw or bone damage in severe cases.
One question that comes up time and time again is: “How long should I wait to get a cavity filled”, and to be honest – this really depends on who you ask and how big the cavity is or how much pain it is causing you.
In some cases, if you catch a tooth decaying early enough, a simple fluoride solution will help to restore the enamel on the damaged part of the tooth. As a rule of thumb, however, if you are experiencing extreme pain or sensitivity you may need to have it treated through oral surgery.
One thing remains the same in all scenarios, however. The longer you wait to get it treated, the more damage will occur. Also, the higher the cost will end up being. This is why it is important to get a cavity filled as soon as possible.
People Also Ask
What is a Cavity?
A cavity is an actual hole on the surface of a tooth.
In almost all cases they are the result of ongoing tooth decay from dental plaque that has continued to build upon the tooth surface. Through natural biological processes in your mouth, bacteria convert to sugar in food particles into an abrasive acid, which then leads to enamel erosion.
How can I tell if I Have a Cavity?
You can tell if you have one through a visual inspection of your teeth, most of the time. In some cases, cavities are inside of the tooth or in between them, which can only be seen through an X-ray device.
It’s important to mention that early tooth decay may not actually be painful. You don’t always experience the traditional sensitivity to hot and cold substances either. This reason specifically is why it is so important to get regular checkups. It’s best to have thorough exams from a dentist.
Further decay, however, will begin to cause pain in your teeth or jaw when it reaches the pulp cavity of the tooth. This is where the nerve endings for your teeth exist and why you feel pain in the peripheral area.
At this point, if your cavity is not addressed, it may turn into a dental abscess.
How Are Cavities Treated?
Knowing when to get a decayed tooth filled may be the difference in the treatment the dentist recommends. The longer treatment is delayed, the more invasive it may become.
- Mild to moderate cases of cavities are most commonly treated with fillings or restorations. During this procedure, your dentist will use a drill to remove the damaged part of the tooth and then fill the surface with a restorative material. These materials vary in appearance, cost, durability, and color.
- If the damage to the tooth is beyond moderate, it may require the use of a crown. This process involves drilling away the crown tooth that currently exists and replacing it with a covering. Like fillings, crowns can be made of different materials and vary in appearance, cost, durability, and color.
- If the tooth has been left untreated for many months, it may require a root canal. This is the process in which the top part of the tooth is removed. The pulp inside of the pulp cavity is cleaned out. The remaining hole packed and then the tooth crowned to prevent future bacteria from entering.
- If the tooth can not be saved due to long-term neglect, it will need to be extracted. After the tooth is extracted and has healed an implant or bridge can be used to restore the aesthetic appearance of the tooth.
Getting your cavities filled is very important!
Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of when to get a cavity filled. As outlined above, it is best practice to get it addressed as soon as you notice it to prevent future damages.
At the dental offices of Dr. Dalesandro, we take great pride in addressing your dental health as quickly as possible to prevent future damages of your teeth. If you have a decaying tooth or you need an exam, please call our offices with our team of professional technicians.