What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated?

What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated?

TeamGeneral Dentistry

A cavity may seem like a minor dental problem, but untreated tooth decay can have severe consequences. If a cavity goes untreated, it may lead to pain, infection, or in extreme cases, tooth loss.

Getting cavities treated promptly is one of the greatest benefits of regular dental care. If you keep up with a healthy routine of dental visits every six months, your practitioner can detect emerging problems and treat them early on before they cause serious issues.

About Tooth Decay

Tooth decay happens when plaque and food particles build up on and between the teeth. Plaque is a biofilm comprised of bacteria and food particles. This bacteria creates toxic byproducts that break down tooth enamel and create cavities. Over time, tooth decay progresses and spreads. The infection in one tooth can move to another, creating more complications.

Consequences of Failure to Treat Tooth Decay

If you believe you have a cavity, it cannot heal on its own but requires dental attention. Here are some of the issues you may have if you do not have your cavities treated right away:

Tooth Pain

If you do not have your tooth decay treated at its early stages, it could progress to the point where nerves are exposed, causing pain.


Deep cavities often become infected. Infected teeth and abscesses cause severe pain and could spread to other teeth.

Root Canals

If you have deep tooth decay that exposes nerves or causes an abscess, you will likely need a root canal. A root canal relieves pain and may be able to save your natural tooth, but it costs significantly more than a simple filling for an earlier-stage cavity.

Tooth Loss and Replacement

In its most advanced stages, decay can lead to losing teeth. Teeth may lose their structural integrity to the point where they fall out, sometimes in pieces. Your dentist may want to extract a tooth that has no hope of functioning in the future.

If you lose a tooth, your dental practitioner will want to replace it immediately to avoid bone loss, gum disease, and further tooth decay. Replacements like bridges and implants can restore the look and function of your smile, but they cost money. It is better to treat cavities early than allow the decay to progress.

Lowering Your Risk of Developing Cavities

If you practice proper dental home care every day, you can cut your risk of tooth decay by removing plaque. Scheduled visits every six months will allow your dentist to take X-rays and catch problems early when they are the most treatable. If you have small cavities, fill them quickly to prevent them from turning into large problems.

Call Total Dental Care

Don't hesitate to call our Germantown, MD, office at 240-813-9111 and schedule an appointment for a comprehensive exam and cleaning. We can examine your teeth for any signs of decay and treat them as promptly as possible to avoid future complications.