Why do I have so many cavities?

9 Oct


Did your dentist tell you that you have lots of cavities?  Are you surprised?  Do you feel like that’s not possible, and that your teeth are fine and don’t require any dental treatment?

I have Cavities?

There are many times when a patient is surprised that they have a lot of cavities.  After all, there is no pain with cavities, no signs or other symptoms.  In fact, a cavity feels like there is absolutely nothing wrong.  So many people, when they are told they have cavities, are surprised.  Often, we hear: “I haven’t had a cavity in years, so how can I possibly have 6 of them now???”

Cavities Take Time to Grow

When a cavity first starts in a tooth, there are no signs or symptoms, other than on x-rays.  Visually, the tooth will look perfectly fine, and you will not feel any sensitivity.  In fact, by the time you do get any sensitivity or can see a cavity visually, it has progressed too far to be a simple solution and you may at this point need a root canal.

But why so many?

If you have lots of cavities, and you are surprised because you haven’t had any for a very long time, the reason is most likely one of the following:

  • old fillings that were put in years ago are breaking down.  Often, if the old fillings were put in around the same time, they will break down at the same rate and require replacement at a similar time down the line
  • not flossing – if you don’t floss, cavities can start between teeth where food collects and a toothbrush can’t reach.  Many people who don’t floss will get multiple cavities as anywhere food goes between teeth, it can start a cavity.  So with multiple teeth in a row, there are multiple places for food to stay and cause decay.

It is important to have regular check-ups with x-rays to ensure that even if you do have tooth decay, it is caught early and restored easily, rather than waiting until big and expensive issues arise.

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