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Cavity on Side of Tooth: What It Means and How to Treat It

Cavity on Side of Tooth: What It Means and How to Treat It


Cavity on side of tooth is a dental issue that many people may not be aware of. Cavities, also known as tooth decay, are holes that develop in the teeth due to the erosion of the tooth’s hard surface. While most people are familiar with cavities that occur on the top or biting surface of the teeth, cavities can also form on the sides of the teeth.

According to a report published by the National Institute of Health, tooth cavity ranks as the second most common health issue in the United States. However, cavities on the side of the tooth are less commonly understood and can often go unnoticed until they cause significant discomfort or damage.

Addressing this issue promptly is crucial to prevent further complications such as severe toothache, infection, and even tooth loss. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the causes, symptoms, and treatments of cavities on side of tooth. Our goal at Smile Studio Boston is to provide you with the information you need to maintain your oral health and keep your smile at its best.

Cavity on Side of Tooth

Understanding Cavity on Side of Tooth

A cavity on side of tooth, also known as an interproximal cavity, is a form of tooth decay that occurs on the smooth sides of your teeth, often in between your teeth. These cavities are damaged areas on the hard surface of your teeth. These areas of tooth decay become tiny openings or holes that can lead to a serious toothache, infection, and tooth loss.

The occurrence of a cavity on the side of your tooth results from two primary causes:

1. Plaque Buildup Due to Inadequate Flossing: Plaque is a sticky substance that binds to teeth. It combines bacteria, saliva, acid, and food particles. Plaque starts forming on your teeth soon after eating or drinking anything sugary. This is why regular brushing and especially flossing is important. Flossing helps remove plaque from the sides of your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.

2. Sugary Diets: Consuming lots of sugary snacks and drinks can lead to the formation of cavities. The bacteria in your mouth turn sugar into acid, which can slowly erode tooth enamel.

3. Lack of Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular dental check-ups can detect tooth decay early. Without regular dental visits, cavities on the side of the tooth can go unnoticed until they cause significant discomfort or damage.

Understanding the causes of cavities on the side of the tooth is the first step towards prevention and treatment. At Smile Studio Boston, we’re committed to helping you maintain good oral health and prevent cavities on the side of the tooth through comprehensive dental care.

Cavity on Side of Tooth

Symptoms to Watch For Cavity on Side of Tooth

If you’re experiencing a cavity on side of tooth, there are several signs and symptoms that might indicate its presence:

1. Tooth Sensitivity: Sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet foods or beverages could be a sign that you have a cavity. When the enamel on your tooth starts to wear away, it can affect the dentin, which is the hard tissue layer below the enamel.

2. Tooth Pain: Tooth pain that can be sharp or dull, especially when eating or drinking, could be a sign of a cavity. The pain may occur when you bite down or may be constant.

3. Toothache: Mild to severe pain when you are not eating could be a sign of a cavity.

4. Changes in Tooth Color: Changes in the color of your tooth could be a sign of a cavity. You might notice white, brown, or black spots on your tooth.

5. Visible Holes or Pits: A visible hole or pit in your tooth is a clear sign of a cavity.

6. Bad Breath: Persistent bad breath could be a sign of a cavity.

7. Bleeding Gums: Although more commonly associated with gum disease, bleeding gums can also be a sign of a cavity.

Remember, these symptoms can be signs of serious oral health problems. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms along with gum pain, it’s important to consult with a dental professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Cavity on Side of Tooth

Diagnosis and Detection

Diagnosing a cavity on side of tooth involves several steps:

1. Visual Examination: The dentist will start by looking around inside your mouth and at your teeth. They will be looking for any visible signs of cavities, such as discoloration or holes in the teeth.

2. Dental Probing: The dentist may use a dental probe, a small metal instrument with a pointed end, to check for soft areas in your teeth. Soft areas could indicate that the tooth enamel has been compromised and a cavity has formed.

3. Dental X-rays: Dental X-rays are crucial for spotting hidden decay not visible to the naked eye. They can show where cavities and decay are, especially those that are in between teeth or under the gum line.

At Smile Studio Boston, we use these methods to accurately diagnose cavities on the side of the tooth. Our team, led by Dr. Khushboo Jain, is committed to providing comprehensive dental care to address all aspects of your oral health. If you’re experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, it’s important to schedule a dental check-up as soon as possible.

Cavity on Side of Tooth

Treatment Options

When it comes to treating a cavity on side of tooth, there are several options available, ranging from immediate treatments to more advanced procedures:

Immediate Treatments

1. Fillings: For smaller cavities, a simple filling might suffice. The dentist will remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned-out cavity with a filling material. This can restore the tooth to its normal function and shape, and prevent further decay.

Advanced Treatments

For more severe cases, the following treatments may be necessary:

1. Crowns: If the cavity has affected a large portion of the tooth, a crown may be necessary. A crown, also known as a cap, is a custom-fitted covering that replaces the tooth’s natural crown. The dentist will drill away the decayed area and some of the tooth’s surface to make room for the crown.

2. Root Canals: In cases where the decay has reached the nerve, a root canal might be recommended. During a root canal, the dentist removes the nerve and pulp of the tooth, cleans the inside of the tooth, and seals it. This procedure can save the tooth and prevent further infection and pain.

Prevention Tips

Preventing a cavity on side of tooth involves several key steps:

1. Proper Brushing Techniques: Brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially around the gumline and between teeth. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damaging your gums and tooth enamel.

2. Daily Flossing: Flossing daily is crucial for removing plaque from between your teeth and along the gumline. Plaque can lead to tooth decay and cavities, so it’s important to remove it regularly.

3. Use of Fluoride Toothpaste: Fluoride can help prevent cavities by making your teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in your mouth. Consider using a toothpaste that contains fluoride.

4. Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular dental check-ups can help catch potential issues early. Your dentist can spot signs of cavities and other dental problems before they become serious.

Cavity on Side of Tooth

Cost Considerations

The cost of treating a cavity on side of tooth can vary based on several factors. These factors include the treatment method, geographic location, and the complexity of the case. On average, the cost of a filling, which is a common treatment for cavities, ranges from $100 to $250. However, if the cavity is large or has reached the pulp of the tooth, more complex procedures like root canals or crowns may be necessary, which can increase the cost. It’s important to note that dental insurance can significantly offset these costs.

At Smile Studio Boston, we understand that cost is a significant consideration for our patients. We strive to provide affordable, high-quality dental care and offer a variety of payment options to ensure that our patients can receive the treatment they need.


Recognizing and treating a cavity on side of tooth promptly is crucial for maintaining good oral health. Left untreated, cavities can lead to severe pain, infection, and even tooth loss. Maintaining good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing techniques, and scheduling regular visits to your dentist for check-ups and cleanings, can help prevent cavities and catch potential issues early.

At Smile Studio Boston, we’re committed to helping our patients maintain their oral health and keep their smiles at their best. Our team, led by Dr. Khushboo Jain, provides comprehensive dental care, including the diagnosis and treatment of cavities on the side of the tooth.

Don’t wait until you’re asking, “Why does my tooth hurt?” Regular dental check-ups can help catch cavities and other dental issues early before they become serious problems. If you’re due for a check-up or if you’re experiencing any dental discomfort, we invite you to book an appointment at Smile Studio Boston today. Let us help you ensure your teeth are healthy and cavity-free.

Transform Your Smile Today with SmileStudio!

At SmileStudio, we believe everyone deserves a smile they’re proud to share. Whether you’re looking for routine dental care, cosmetic enhancements, or advanced treatments, our team of experienced professionals is here to guide you every step of the way.

Why Wait? Book Your Appointment Now!

1. Expert Team: Our team of highest rated dentists and dental professionals are committed to providing the highest standard of care. Whether you’re looking for a crown dentist, an implants dentist, or veneers dentist, our team has the expertise to meet your needs.

2. Flexible Payment Options: We believe that everyone should have access to quality dental care. That’s why we offer flexible payment plans to fit your budget.

3. Emergency Dental Care: Dental emergencies don’t always happen during office hours. That’s why we offer emergency dentist services to provide immediate care when you need it most.

4. Walk-In Appointments: We understand that life can be unpredictable. That’s why we offer walk-in appointments at our walk-in accepted dental office to accommodate your busy schedule.

5.  Accepting MassHealth: At SmileStudio, we believe in making dental care accessible to everyone. That’s why we’re a dentist that accepts MassHealth, ensuring that you can get the care you need, regardless of your insurance plan

Remember, at SmileStudio, your smile is our priority. We’re here to provide comprehensive dental care tailored to your individual needs. 

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1. Can you fix a cavity on the side of a tooth?

Yes, a cavity on the side of a tooth can be fixed. The dentist can treat the cavity by numbing your tooth, using a bur to remove the cavity, and then using different materials to bond a tooth-colored filling to the tooth. Sometimes, depending on the size and location of the cavity, different treatments, such as onlays or crowns, may be necessary.

2. Can a tooth recover from a cavity?

A cavity can usually be reversed if it’s caught at the onset or early stages of the demineralization process, the first step of tooth decay. During this stage, good oral hygiene is imperative to restoring the minerals in your teeth and halting decay. However, once the enamel is damaged, the process is irreversible, and the cavity will only worsen if left untreated.

3. Can a tooth heal on its own cavity?

Some cavities can heal independently under ideal oral circumstances, such as proper pH, getting the right minerals, performing proper oral hygiene habits, and maintaining a healthy diet. However, unless a cavity is in the beginning stages of formation, it cannot heal naturally, especially for one that has broken through the dentin.

4. What is a cavity on the side of a tooth called?

A cavity on the side of a tooth is often referred to as a “smooth-surface cavity” because it occurs on the smooth, flat sides of your teeth. They can also be called “interproximal cavities” or “gumline cavities” when they occur near the gums.

5. What does a stage 1 cavity look like?

In the earliest stage of enamel erosion, a cavity might appear as a small white or chalky spot on the tooth’s surface. This spot could be barely noticeable, especially to the untrained eye. The spots indicate areas where the enamel has started to weaken.

6. Do side cavities hurt?

Most people have no idea that they have a cavity because they don’t usually hurt in the early stages. But once decay extends to the dentin layer underneath the enamel or reaches the inner pulp (a bundle of soft tissue, blood vessels, and nerves), your teeth will start hurting from the decay.

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