What are hidden cavities and how can they be detected

  • Useful Info   •   23rd October, 2019

Through regular visits to the dentist – at least 2 times a year – and through maintaining good oral hygiene, many of the teeth problems could be prevented or detected and treated in the early stages.

Periodic checks involve examining the oral cavity, checking the health of teeth, gums and soft tissues of the oral cavity (cheeks, tongue, buccal floor) in order to identify any lesions or dysfunctions and also proper inspection of the old fillings to find whether or not they have developed secondary cavities.

Cavities are the most common disorders of the dento-maxillary system, affecting people of all ages and in the early stages do not create discomfort for the patient. Cavities can be visible – they appear in the form of brown, gray or black dyes or they can develop in areas that are not accessible to the eye, making them difficult to be identified by the patient. These hidden cavities can evolve to the point where only the accentuated pain can announce their presence, meanwhile substantially affecting the tooth.

Types of dental caries – depending on the place affected

  • Caries in dental pits – they form on the surface of the tooth and are the easiest to see

  • Caries on smooth surfaces – appear on the lateral surfaces of teeth and can be easily observed by the patient

  • Caries on the root of the tooth – they usually affect the elders or people suffering from an active periodontal disease, in which cases, gum withdraws and leaves the root of the tooth exposed in the oral cavity.

  • Secondary or marginal cavities – they form on the crown of a tooth with dental filling, at the level of contact between the edge of the cavity and the filling material. These cavities tend to evolve into the dental pulp, causing it to damage and fracture the cavity walls.

  • Recurrent cavities – appear under the obturations and are discovered with the help of dental radiology

Secondary and recurrent cavities are considered to be hidden, precisely because they are difficult to be detected at least until they invade the enamel or lead to enamel coloration.

This is why a dental checkup usually includes a simple dental X-Ray. Dental X-Ray provides information on both the location of a possible existing or incipient cavity and their degree of depth.

For example, if the X-Ray shows a marginal coloration of the obturation, it is known that in time a marginal secondary cavity will be clearly created.

This information allows the dentist to intervene quickly to avoid secondary cavity formation or to stop it before it develops into the dental pulp or before it causes the cavity wall to fracture.

Seeing your dentist on regular basis is mandatory for the detection and treatment of hidden cavities. Only when conditioned by obvious discomforts – pain, bleeding, abscesses – lead to aggravated dental problems and all the same to wider, more difficult and more expensive treatments.

See your dentist regularly! Say Yes to professional cleaning and periodic checks so that potential dental problems can be prevented or early identified.  

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