Can a Cavity Heal on Its Own?
Is a cavity ever truly "healed" on its own? A cavity, or otherwise known as a hole in the side of a tooth, is essentially a root canal gone bad. Root canals can be quite painful, even agonizing, so it's best to get them as soon as possible so complications don't arise. But how does a cavity heal on its own?
The answer lies in understanding the process through which a cavity develops and heals. A root canal is the result of bacteria developing in a cavity, specifically in the root canal. Bacteria can grow for many reasons; some of these reasons stem from a decay that has begun inside the tooth or near the root. Some are also the result of a buildup of plaque, which irritates the cavity and creates pockets of irritation inside the tooth. Plaque, in and of itself, is not a dangerous substance, but the pockets and inflammation that it causes can cause discomfort, pain, and ultimately, tooth decay if not addressed and removed.
When a cavity begins to develop, it's important to recognize what has caused it-most cases involve poor dental hygiene practices or an underlying gum or bone disease. Often, cavity-causing germs develop in cavities because of poor tooth brushing or flossing. It's also important to realize that most toothaches are caused by the progression of a tooth-decaying condition, which includes pockets of infected tissue and gum disease. In many cases, cavities are a direct result of tooth loss, whether from tooth extraction or tooth erosion.
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To understand how a cavity can heal on its own, it's best to think in terms of a tube. The inside of this tube is the tooth, while the "drip" is the area surrounding the tooth. The more infection there is in the tube, the more the tooth decays and the more likely it will require root canal treatment. Similarly, the more as there is in the root canal, the more likely a tooth will need to be extracted.
Removing a tooth or teeth is not only inconvenient; it can be very expensive. If the dentist can't do the work on its own, he or she must rely on another provider, such as a root canal specialist. Even then, the procedure may not be covered by insurance unless the patient can demonstrate that he or she will be able to pay for it out of pocket.
Can a cavity heal on its own? Typically, yes. But it doesn't happen overnight. Typically, it takes six months or more for a cavity to heal, even when treated with root canal therapy or other conservative measures. Left untreated for too long, a cavity can rupture and go to the opposite extreme of blocking the tooth.
Fortunately, preventative measures can help. Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth thoroughly at least twice a day. Avoid eating heavy foods at night. Be sure to brush and floss right before you go to bed. And for those who suffer from oral thrush, try switching to an antifungal mouthwash rather than just relying on oral medicine.
Can a cavity heal on its own? Although oral surgery can be used to cure a cavity, most of the time it's not necessary. Your dentist can fill a cavity with a filling called a root canal. This procedure involves draining a blocked root canal and replacing the tooth or teeth affected with a filling.
If you do have a cavity and it doesn't go away after six months of proper dental care, you may need to see a dental professional. A dental professional can remove any impacted food fragments, clean the inside of your mouth, and remove any inflamed or infected gums. If you still have oral issues after this, your dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics. It is very important to take these medications as instructed. Failure to do so can lead to severe and possibly life-threatening side effects.
Finally, if all else fails and you have a cavity that does not heal, don't despair. You may also have root canal disease. Root canal treatment is recommended to anyone with a deep, pressing toothache that doesn't improve with traditional treatment methods. Although your dentist may suggest a root canal treatment, do not ignore a cavity as it can grow into an infected one and remain undetected unless you're having root canal surgery.
Hopefully, this article has given you some useful information about the answers to the question "can a cavity heal on its own?" Next time you have a cavity, see your dentist immediately for a professional cleaning and an oral x-ray. Your dentist can confirm whether the condition is serious enough to justify root canal treatment or not.
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