Gum line cavities are a common dental condition that affect many people. However, many people do not know the difference between a gum line cavity and other types of cavities. This blog post will discuss what gum line cavities are, what causes them, and how your dentist treats gum line cavities.
What is a gum line cavity?
First things first, we need to define what a gum line cavity is, but to do that we need to know the three different types of cavities. Cavities can be found in and defined by three different areas: smooth surface, biting surface, and root.
- Smooth surface cavities form on the smooth surfaces of your teeth, such as the fronts, backs, and sides. They can also form on the smooth surfaces in between your teeth.
- Biting surface cavities form on the chewing surfaces of your teeth, especially in the molars. They are sometimes also known as pit and fissure cavities.
- Root cavities are cavities that occur below the gum line on the tooth roots.
A gum line cavity can either be classified as a smooth surface or root cavity. Gum line cavities that form near the gum line are considered smooth surface cavities, while those that form on the tooth roots are root cavities. Both type of gum line cavities require treatment, however it is especially important to have root cavities treated.
Causes of Gum Line Cavities
So, what causes gum line cavities? All cavities are caused by bacteria, and gum line cavities are no exception. The mouth contains lots of bacteria that can become harmful when it accumulates in the plaque and tartar that forms on the surfaces of your teeth. When you eat sugary foods, these sugars combine with this bad oral bacteria to form acids which erode your tooth enamel. Over time, these acids can create deep holes in your teeth called cavities.
When it comes to gum line cavities in particular, the most common cause is plaque along the gum line. When plaque is not removed with regular brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar. Both plaque and tartar cause the gums to recede, or pull away from, the tooth roots and expose them. The tooth roots are coated in cementum, which is softer than enamel and easier for bacteria to erode. As a result, gum line cavities can become larger and deeper faster than other types of cavities.
Treatments for Gum Line Cavities
The treatment for your gum line cavity will depend on the location and extent of the cavity. For cavities that are near the gum line, your dentist will simply remove the decayed tissue and place a composite filling. In some cases, they may also use a dental sealant or fluoride varnish to help protect the tooth from further decay.
If your gum line cavity is more extensive and has reached the tooth roots, your dentist may need to perform a root canal and/or minor gum surgery. This is because cavities on the tooth roots can be harder to access, especially if the cavity extends below the gums. With that being said, your dentist will need to evaluate your individual case before making a treatment plan.
Gum line cavities are a common dental condition that affect many people. However, it is important to know the difference between what type of cavity you have and how your dentist will treat it. Glow Dental can help determine whether or not you need treatment for gum line cavities by taking an x-ray of your teeth or performing a comprehensive examination in our office. If we find any evidence of tooth decay below the gum line, we’ll provide you with recommendations on how to treat this problem so that you can restore healthy gums and avoid more serious complications like losing bone support around the roots of your teeth.
Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.