You may have heard your dentist say that on a few occasions: “we’ll just watch this one for a while.”
Watch it do what? Get bigger? Go away?
Why doesn’t your dentist want to treat a small cavity right away?
The sooner you treat tooth decay, the better, in most cases. Early treatment tends to buy your tooth extra time and save you money. But, there are some situations that warrant waiting a little while.
How Cavities Form
Decay starts with a weak area in tooth enamel. It usually forms as a result of acid exposure. Acid sources include sugar, bacteria, and even reflux or vomiting. The more your teeth are exposed to such things, the greater the chances that your enamel will start dissolving.
Once the enamel breaks down enough, cavity-causing bacteria can move in and become the start of a cavity. Decay progresses very slowly through tough tooth enamel. After reaching softer inner tooth layers, it can grow rapidly, so that’s the point when your dentist wants to treat it.
As long as a cavity is still stuck in the outer layers of enamel, it’s possible to stop the disease and strengthen your tooth with fluoride.
Spare Your Teeth from “Unnecessary” Work
Altering your teeth unnecessarily will only weaken them. Aggressively patching up a tooth with a composite filling every time a little spot of decay shows up is a sure way to shorten the lifespan of your teeth.
So, your dentist is likely to wait and see if a small cavity or demineralization stops itself before it reaches that point of absolutely needing treatment.
Ask your dentist about what methods are available in the office for detecting tooth decay in its early stages.
Posted on behalf of:
Les Belles NYC Dentistry
420 Lexington Ave #228
New York, NY 10170
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