Tooth Decay: Everything You Need To Know About Dental Cavity


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health

General Health

5 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Tooth decay and rotting teeth, if left unchecked, can cause serious problems
  • Read about factors that may put you at risk of developing tooth decay
  • Learn the different dental cavities treatment options available

Oral health is an important component of general wellbeing and it is a sad reality that many don’t prioritise oral hygiene. This is one of the main reasons for tooth decay and rotting teeth, which when left unchecked, can cause serious problems. Caring for your teeth is actually something you can’t overlook, as damaged teeth that can’t be saved will have to be extracted. However, not all rotting teeth need to be extracted as what you suffer from may be simply classified as a dental cavity, which is treatable. 

When it comes to cavities, dental specialists will always recommend tooth decay treatment options such as fillings or even root canal treatment (RCT). With cavities, filling is the most common approach and is one you should get as early as possible, before it gets to the stage that you need an RCT. 

It is also important to pay attention to factors that may put you at risk of developing tooth decay. These include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Bulimia
  • Inadequate brushing, especially around the molars
  • Lack of fluoride 
  • Frequently consuming sugary foods

Understanding the risk factors of tooth decay can help you prevent a dental cavity. To learn about dental cavities in detail and better prepare yourself to avail the right treatment, read on.

What is a dental cavity?

A dental cavity is a hole in the tooth that is formed by gradual tooth decay. In most cases, this hole goes undetected because it isn’t painful at the start, but if not detected early, it will cause problems. This is why booking routine dental appointments is very important to maintaining a healthy mouth. A dental cavity can occur in anyone, right from an infant to an elderly adult. There are several reasons for the formation of cavities, with dietary factors and poor oral hygiene being the most prominent. 

What are the different dental cavities causes?

Cavities are caused by tooth decay, which is the result of plaque build-up. Plaque is a substance that builds up on your teeth and slowly erodes the enamel. It is a combination of saliva, mouth bacteria, food particles, and acid. Naturally, good oral hygiene gets rid of plaque and protects you against cavities. Besides this, receding gums and failed fillings also lead to cavities. 

If you have gum disease or damaged gums that expose the roots of your teeth, you are at a high risk of developing a cavity. This is because the roots of your teeth are deprived of the enamel, which protects against plaque and tooth decay. As such, it is easier to develop cavities below the gum line. Failed cavities also lead to crevices and cracks in which decay begins. Frequent visits to your dentist can help protect against such decay as X-rays clearly indicate if a filling needs replacement. 

What are the dental cavities symptoms to expect?

When you have a dental cavity, here are the symptoms to be aware of:

  • Tooth pain
  • Staining of the tooth
  • Tooth sensitivity, especially to temperature

In more severe cases, you may also develop a tooth abscess. This is a pocket of pus that is formed around the tooth and is caused by a bacterial infection. This is a very serious symptom and one that requires urgent care, as it has life-threatening consequences if left untreated.

What are the different dental cavities treatment options?

Before suggesting any treatment, dentists will first take an X-ray of the affected tooth to gauge the level of damage. Based on the severity, here are the options available to you:

  1. Tooth filling: The dentist uses a drill to remove the decay and fills it with the filling substance.
  2. Root canal treatment: The dentist removes the nerve tissue and decaying areas of the tooth. The dentist then disinfects the roots and applies a filling to seal and protect it.
  3. Crown: The dentist places a customised protective cap on the tooth after removing decayed material.
  4. Fluoride treatment: The dentist reinforces the tooth enamel to avoid decay. This is the earliest stage of treatment when decay seems likely.
  5. Extraction: The dentist removes the decayed tooth entirely. This is the last resort when the tooth can’t be saved, and the infection must be stopped from spreading.  

Are there any dental cavities home treatment practices?

While cavities do require medical care to be treated completely, you can do some form of early treatment at home. Here, the most important practice is to use a fluoride toothpaste, including products that contain silver diamine fluoride, as these reinforce the tooth enamel. In addition to that, reduce your intake of sugary foods. Sugar causes acid build up in the mouth and this reacts with bacteria to form plaque. So, reducing the factors that lead to plaque can help. Lastly, over-the-counter pain medication can also help relieve the pain of a cavity. When treating dental cavities, home remedy options can also alleviate pain and be beneficial in strengthening your enamel. However, it is best to consult your dentist first.

Tooth decay is a serious problem that affects everyone, from infants to adults and the elderly too. As such, it is vital that you practice all the above-mentioned prevention tips so that you enjoy healthier teeth for longer. This eliminates the need to rely on tooth decay treatment, which can be quite painful and heavy on the pocket, as the average tooth filling cost isn’t cheap. 

Moreover, having a healthier set of teeth can also do wonders for your confidence as you aren’t worried about bad breath or missing teeth affecting your smile. So, do your bit to maintain good oral health and ensure to keep your routine appointment with a dentist for maximum care. If you’re looking to simplify your search for a good dental specialist, use the Bajaj Finserv Health App

This digital provision makes healthcare easy to avail, with just a few taps on your smartphone. Here, you have access to a wide array of telemedicine benefits that add an unparalleled layer of convenience to your healthcare experience. For instance, the app grants you access to the smart doctor search functionality through which you can find the best dentists in your locality and book appointments at their clinics online. What’s more, remote care is also available to you as you can consult with specialists from your home via video. These are just a few of the many healthcare perks you get with this app. To get started right away, download the app for free from Google Play or on the Apple App Store.  

Published on 7 May 2021Last updated on 25 Nov 2021

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


Health Videos

Mobile Frame
Download our app

Download the Bajaj Health App

Stay Up-to-date with Health Trends. Read latest blogs on health and wellness. Know More!

Get the link to download the app

Google PlayApp store