What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated?

What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated?

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The mouth is full of bacteria that can create enamel-eating acids that make their way through a tooth. Plaque, poor oral hygiene, and eating sugary foods all play a role in the making of cavities.

Addressing them early can stop the destruction and restore the tooth before the damage gets too excessive. But what happens if you don’t take action? Keep reading to find out what can occur if a cavity is left untreated.

Signs You May Have a Cavity

Cavities can impact people in different ways — and some may have no symptoms at all. Below are a few of the most common signs you may have a cavity.

  • Tooth pain that seems to appear for no reason
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Visible holes or pits in your tooth
  • Stains that can be brown, black, or even white
  • Pain when chewing or biting down

If you are experiencing any of the above, book an appointment with your dentist to get checked out. Routine visits to the dentist can stop cavities before they get worse.

What Happens When a Cavity is Not Treated?

Not seeking treatment for a cavity means that all of the above symptoms can increase and become more significant. The pain you have will likely get worse, as will your sensitivity. What’s more — the decay is not going to stop.

As it continues to spread, you may experience swelling, inflammation, and infection. This will continue to move through the tooth, the gums, into the surrounding teeth, and even into the bloodstream.

Once an infection from severe tooth decay reaches the bloodstream, you have a medical emergency.

How is a Dental Cavity Treated?

There are a couple of different ways dentists address cavities. The ideal treatment involves removing the decay and restoring the functionality and appearance of the tooth. However, the chosen route for treatment will depend on the level of damage.

Dental Filling

Dental fillings are the easiest option. The area is cleaned out, removing the decay and replacing it with a material like composite resin. This is the same color as your enamel and will look like a restored tooth. It will be able to function normally, too.

Root Canal Treatment

When the decay and infection have reached the soft, innermost layer of the tooth, simple dental fillings will no longer be effective. Rather root canal treatment will be used to address the infected pulp, removing the infection and cleaning out the roots and surrounding areas. The tooth will then be sealed, usually followed by the placement of a dental crown.


In some instances, when a tooth is too severely decayed, an extraction may be warranted. In other words, the tooth must be removed and replaced with an alternative, such as a dental implant.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cavities

How do you prevent cavities?

Good oral hygiene techniques and routine visits to the dentist can provide you with the greatest defense against cavities.

Are all toothaches related to a cavity?

No. A cavity may cause a toothache, but many other oral health issues can do the same. This is why it is so important to visit your dentist for the proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment For Cavities at Kalmar Family Dentistry

If you think you may have a cavity, do not put off treatment as it can have devastating consequences for both your oral and overall health. The dental team at Kalmar Family Dentistry can help your cavity heal and restore your smile.

Contact us today at 631-673-0670  to schedule an appointment. Or request an appointment online.