All About Cavities: Stages, Causes, & Treatment Options

All About Cavities: Stages, Causes, & Treatment Options

Nov 01, 2020

Your smile is worth more than a thousand words, as the popular saying goes. A smile can brighten any room and lighten the mood of anyone around you. If cavities have taken over your pearly whites, here’s what you need to know about tooth decay and the available treatment options that can help bring back your beautiful, sparkly smile.

What Are the Stages of Cavities?

The word cavity is rooted in its original definition, meaning hollow or hole. In its dental context, it refers to tooth decay. Tooth decay is a condition that decomposes your teeth by weakening them, and over time, creating holes in them, little by little.

Stage 1

Tooth decay demineralizes your teeth from the surface. Often, it starts as white spots. This phase is considered the early stage of cavity formation. At this point, its development can still be impeded and even reversed, depending on the procedure your dentist in Manchester, VT, employs.

Stage 2

Following the initial demineralization is enamel decay. Tooth decay will weaken and deteriorate the integrity of the enamel, turning from white discolorations to brown spots (or, in some cases, grey spots) and eventually forming holes, also known as cavities.

Stage 3

If the decay remains unchecked, it travels to the dentin—the tissue found right beneath the enamel. The dentin is softer in form compared to the enamel. Due to this, it decays much faster than the latter. And because this part of the tooth contains nerves and nerve endings, you’ll notice that your teeth will have become more sensitive. This is especially obvious when you consume hot or cold foods and beverages.

Stage 4

Now comes pulp damage. The pulp is a deep-seated layer of your tooth and is the innermost section of it. Aside from nerves, it is also comprised of blood vessels. Hence, it experiences higher degrees of sensitivity.

When the pulp is damaged from decay, it tends to inflame and swell. But this swelling cannot be accommodated by the tissue walls around it. As a result, you will feel pressure in the affected tooth, and later on, pain.

Stage 5

Abscess-formation in the pulp is deemed as the final phase of tooth decay. Bacteria will begin to form, proliferate, and give rise to the build-up of infection. This infection will cause the inner layers of the tooth to inflame. Following this is the accumulation of pus inside the bottom of your teeth.

These pockets of pus are called abscesses. They may spread throughout the jaw and jawline, lymph nodes, face, and neck.


The main cause of tooth decay typically stems from an overall lack of care regarding proper oral hygiene. Aside from this, too much consumption of sugary foods and drinks is another cause of cavities.

Treatment for Dental Cavities

By conducting a thorough examination of your teeth, probing them to look for sensitive areas, and conducting X-rays to learn the extent of the decay, our dentist at Manchester Dental Group will be able to recommend specific dental procedures for you to undertake.

Fluoride Treatment – This treatment is applicable if the cavity formation is still in its first stages. Fluoride can restore the coating of your enamel and halt the spread of the demineralization.

Fillings and Restorations – Fillings are the basic restoration procedure for treating a cavity. They’re usually made of compounds such as resins and dental amalgams. If you’re interested in cosmetic dentistry in Manchester, VT, we also provide teeth veneers as a form of restoration.

Dental Inlays, Onlays, And Crowns – Dental inlays and onlays in Manchester, VT differ only in terms of the location on the tooth upon which they are placed. Inlays fill caries within teeth cusps, whereas onlays are placed on the top portion of severely deteriorating cusps. On the other hand, a crown is a tooth-shaped cap set as a covering over an entire tooth.

Root Canal Treatment – Once the decay spreads throughout the tooth pulp, the only approach to pursue is a root canal treatment. The deteriorating pulp is removed, and the entire portion is medicated and rid of infections. Afterward, your dentist will substitute the pulp with a filling.

Contact Manchester Dental Group today to receive treatment for dental cavities. We can help you restore your beautiful smile.

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