Fig.1 Fig.4
Fig.2 Fig.5
Fig.3 Fig.6

Dental Education Lecture: Floss against Cavity

Ms. Han has pretty front teeth (Fig.1), but one of them has early cavity between the teeth.  We need to ask her to open her mouth and use a mouth mirror to show the cavity (dark shadow in Fig.2).  Fig.3 is a blow-up image of Fig.2: arrowheads showing the outline of the cavity. 

This is the best time to fix the cavity.  The doctor removes the cavity from the back surface of the front tooth and replace the hole with white filling (Fig.5, 6).  You do not see any imperfection from the front view (Fig.4).

Some of us may ignore doctor's advice to get early cavity fixed.  The cavity keeps growing.  One day the dark shadow can show up through the front surface of the front tooth (Fig.1 of previous lecture: Cases of Fillings).  The treatment result may be less ideal by then (Fig.2 of Cases of Fillings).  If you keep procrastinating, the front teeth may chip or crack.

The reason that we have cavity between the teeth is that we do not floss regularly.  Sometimes the cavity happens in the back tooth if you do not floss there.  Is it right time to pick up dental floss and keep using it?

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 08/18/2010, last revision 04/18/2012