Dental Education Lecture: Severe Special Cavities
Last week we discussed special cavity, which develops in the cervical area (neck) of our tooth, i.e., between crown and root. This special type of wear and tear (erosion) may happen mainly in the crown (Fig.1 red arrowheads). The black arrowhead points to the cervical area of the neighboring tooth. Everything below the black arrowhead is crown (C), whereas everything above is root.
If we do not floss on regular basis or do not brush properly, our gums are receding gradually. The cervical erosion may occur in the root (between two arrowheads in Fig.2). The defects in the root (R) are so large and deep. The white stuffs on the surface of the crown (C) and root are plaque and tartars. Fig.3 shows the cervical defect of the tooth on our right-handed side. The defect is so deep that the nerve (N, whitish appearance) is close by. This is one of reasons that we experience sensitivity to everything: cold, hot, sour and tooth brushing. The wall of the defect is yellowish dentin (D). The structure below white arrowhead in Fig.3 is enamel, the outmost layer of our crown.
Cervical defects are usually found in a few teeth around the corner of our mouth. Sometimes they are everywhere (Fig.3). The tooth with the most severe defect breaks off one day and is gone with wind (* in Fig.3).
It appears that our dental problems are very complicated. We need to take good care of our teeth every day and see dentist on regular interval.
Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 01/11/2011, last revision 01/11/2011