Cavities also called caries or dental decay, are an extremely common problem that affects many people. Tooth cavities are typically holes that form when tooth enamel breaks down due to infection with bacteria. The bacteria eat away at the protective enamel around your teeth and produce waste products which create empty spaces (cavities) inside of your teeth. Your body can’t repair cavities on its own because they are below the gum line; therefore, you need to visit your dentist if you notice any sign of a cavity or pain in your mouth. Although restorative dentistry is capable of repairing most decayed teeth, there are still some cases where even this approach may not be enough to repair your tooth and save it.

Tooth Cavities: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Here you can learn the most effective measures to take against a hole in your tooth – and read how you can avoid the causes in the first place to save yourself unpleasant visits to the dentist

If you don’t take good care of your teeth day after day, holes can form in them. Sometimes only one hole forms in the tooth, sometimes several teeth are affected at once.

  • There is a relatively long time before a hole in the tooth develops, and usually previous caries is the cause of the disease.
  • Such a hole can be very painful & an indication of further dental problems – and should be treated in any case.

If you have noticed a hole in the tooth, you will find all the information on the subject here. In our content overview, you can quickly find the topic that interests you the most:

As you can see, there is comprehensive information on the subject. Equally varied are the methods of treatment, as well as the steps you can take to prevent it.

But more on that later in the text.

the causes of caries holes

The best way to treat a cavity is to see a dentist. There is usually no way around it.

It is important that you do not panic. According to statistics, 99 percent of the peoples suffers from a cavity in their tooth at some point.

And luckily, there are a few things you can do.

And fortunately, there are effective ways a dentist can clean, fill and eliminate these holes in the long run.

How do I know there is a hole in the tooth?

Most of the time, you notice a hole in your tooth when you slide your tongue over it. Or a sudden pain sets in, and when you visit the dentist, the finding follows: hole in the tooth.

To be able to detect a cavity, you should be attentive and preferably check your teeth regularly. Because: the sooner you discover a hole, the easier it is to treat!

  1. In the beginning, you may only see small dark spots or discoloration on one of your teeth that cannot be removed even when you brush your teeth thoroughly. This is usually the first indication of tooth decay.
  2. If you are already experiencing tooth pain, this is a sign that the decay has reached the inside of the tooth and is affecting the nerves there.

Such serious symptoms of a cavity in your tooth are warning signs that you should act on quickly.

The most common warning signs of a possible hole in the tooth:

Exactly how do tooth cavities form?

Most holes in teeth are caused by tooth decay. This forms due to bacterial deposits on the tooth, which cause demineralization of the tooth enamel.

The fewer minerals that protect the enamel, the more brittle it becomes. Once the enamel is attacked, tooth decay begins, slowly but steadily causing holes in the teeth.

How long does it take for a hole to form?

The process for tooth decay to form and a hole to appear in the tooth is relatively lengthy.

structure of the tooth

The length of time from infestation to cavity varies from person to person. Decisive factors for the speed of the process include:

  • Your diet
  • Your dental hygiene
  • Your tooth structure

FACT: A cavity in your tooth is a continuous process – the sooner you stop it, the better for your teeth!

These factors promote the formation of a hole

Consumption of sugary foods and beverages, coffee or tea, and smoking are known to accelerate the spread of tooth decay

The bacteria responsible for tooth decay use sugar as a food base.

sugar promotes cavities

Tip: Replace regular sugar with caries-fighting birch sugar (xylitol).

The most common causes of cavities in teeth

  1. Bacteria: These settle on the teeth and develop chemical processes (they form aggressive acids) that attack the enamel. The longer the bacteria act, the more serious the problem becomes.

Note: It is normal to have bacteria in the mouth, but a thorough dental hygiene helps to reduce their number regularly.

  1. Dental hygiene: Lack of dental hygiene is the most common cause of tooth decay and as a result, a hole in the tooth.
  2. Sugar: Since the bacteria responsible for plaque feed on sugar, it accelerates the process. The less sugar you consume, the less you feed the tooth decay.
  3. Acids: Many acids, such as those found in fruits and fruit drinks, are also harmful to tooth enamel and promote tooth decay.
  4. No saliva: A dry mouth promotes bacterial growth. Plenty of saliva helps liquefy foods and prevent buildup. Chewing gum can help make more saliva.

Hole in the tooth without caries

Sometimes there can be a hole in the tooth without it being affected by tooth decay. For example, small pieces of tooth can break off and expose the underlying tooth body.

Whenever there is a hole in the tooth, it should be professionally closed by a specialist. I will explain how this is done further down in the text.

Tooth holes in children

Of course, children can also have tooth decay and get a hole in their tooth as a result.

dental care children

Even for children, brushing teeth is the best preventive measure against a cavity in the tooth.

Caries in babies and toddlers

Even babies and toddlers can suffer from tooth decay, from which a hole in the tooth forms in the long term.

  • In most cases, incorrect nutrition is the main reason for such a disease.
  • Many mothers and fathers tend to use ready-made mixtures for the baby bottle.

However, these are often very sugary. Also, the habit of sweetening food with a little more sugar (sweetened tea, sugary juices) is absolutely harmful to children’s teeth.

Important: dental care for babies

Because infants cannot brush their own teeth, it is important that parents do so (for example, with a suitable children’s toothbrush)

the right toothbrush for kids

  • Even though it’s easier and more convenient to put your child to sleep right after dinner, this is absolutely counterproductive for dental hygiene.
  • Also, the widespread opinion that caries in milk teeth is unimportant, because they fall out anyway, is absolutely wrong.

Any inflammation in the oral cavity must be taken seriously and treated (because the bacteria can also spread to the gums & cause pain there).

Teeth cavities in teenagers

Many teenagers tend to eat poorly and not take personal hygiene too seriously.

  • At the same time, it is this age range that develops the solid routines for later life.
  • Therefore, in this age group, the 2x daily tooth brushing is sustainably recommended and should be controlled.

Parents can set a foundation for good oral hygiene here through interest and commitment, which will have a positive impact in later years.

Tip: Think about buying an electric device. Such brushes not only clean more thoroughly, but also much more convenient – and partly compensate for poor brushing technique. Electric toothbrushes in the test.

Does a hole in the tooth always cause pain?

Unfortunately, far too many people still believe that teeth are fine if they do not hurt. When in fact, pain is merely an alarm signal that only kicks in when the damage has already been done.

pain-sensitive tooth necks when tooth cavity

Plaque, a steadily growing layer of plaque, and even a small hole in a tooth often don’t cause pain.

Sometimes bleeding gums occur, but severe toothache does not. If the tooth begins to hurt, this is a clear sign that the destruction of the tooth is already well advanced.

Dead teeth do not hurt

Sometimes, it can also happen that the root of a tooth has already died and therefore this tooth no longer feels pain.

Despite this, decay on this tooth must be treated, because it can spread to other teeth & the gums (and lead to periodontal disease there)

Conclusion: If a hole in the tooth causes pain, this tooth must be absolutely treated immediately. The sooner a hole in the tooth is detected, the easier it is to treat it painlessly.

What to do if a cavity has developed?

If you notice discoloration on your teeth while brushing, feel small cavities in your tooth, or feel that a spot on your tooth is suddenly particularly rough, you should always make an appointment with your dentist right away.

hole in tooth dentist

Any hole in the tooth can be better treated if it is detected early. And as is generally true in all health matters: Prevention is better than cure.

If you do not check your teeth regularly yourself, take advantage of free dental visits – preferably every six months – to guarantee that diseases are detected.

This represents the cheapest option

A preventive checkup at the dentist will only cost you some time. However, it can effectively prevent you from pain and serious problems.

This will save you additional visits in the long run, which can be very painful & neatly into the money.

CAUTION: Under no circumstances should you attempt to fill a hole in a tooth yourself. The hole must be professionally cleaned so that the damage does not penetrate further into the interior of the tooth!

My hole in the tooth is already causing pain

If tooth pain is present, a trip to the dentist is an absolute must

As explained earlier, toothache is a sign of advanced destruction of the tooth. Treat a hole in the tooth yourself is impossible. You need a specialist to help you as soon as possible!

modern treatment at the dentist

The longer you put off going to the dentist, the worse and bigger the hole in the tooth becomes. In addition, the treatments to close the tooth hole become more and more costly.

How to treat a hole in your tooth

The earlier a hole in a tooth is detected, the easier it is to treat.

A small hole in the tooth can often be closed very quickly and without anesthesia at the dentist. If the hole has already penetrated to the nerve, sometimes the only option is to pull the tooth.

The usual procedure for treating tooth holes is as follows:

First treatment steps

First, the dentist will check how serious your condition is. If only the enamel layer is affected, treatment with mineral-containing care products to protect the teeth (dental sealants) is often enough to help.

Treatment of small holes in the tooth

Small holes in the teeth are usually cleaned directly during the checkup and closed with special fillers. This ensures that these holes will not grow further and will not cause you problems in the future

Treatment of larger holes in the tooth

If there is an advanced infection and a deep hole in the tooth, your dentist will develop a detailed treatment plan for you that first involves mitigating the infection

The decay is then removed and finally the hole in the tooth is filled. Drilling is essential in this process to completely remove all foci of infection.

Thanks to a local anesthetic, this treatment is also painless. Different materials can be used for the subsequent tooth filling:

caries holes treatment

Caries holes usually need to be drilled and then closed.

Materials for filling a hole in a tooth

Depending on where the hole is in the tooth and how advanced the disease is, the dentist may use different materials to fill and seal the tooth

The most commonly used materials in this regard are:

  • ceramic
  • Plastic
  • Metal alloys
  • Amalgam

The cost of some materials is automatically covered by health insurance; for other materials, a private co-payment may be required.

Pros and cons of materials used to treat a hole in a tooth:

Amalgam: this mercury alloy was the standard filling for tooth cavities for many years.

  • Advantages: the cost is covered by health insurance, very durable, very cheap, fast processing by the dentist (1st session)
  • Disadvantages: due to the high mercury content, intoxication and allergy can occur, the silver fillings are not very nice to look at

Ceramic: so-called inlays are made of ceramic by a dental technician after impression.

  • Advantages: very aesthetic
  • Disadvantages: higher cost

Metal alloys: these are also made individually by a dental technician

  • Advantages: high precision and resilience
  • Disadvantages: depending on the material (gold, silver) very expensive

Plastics: these can be processed quickly and directly, similar to amalgam

  • Advantages: optically often hardly distinguishable from the tooth
  • Disadvantages: only suitable for small holes, risk of fracture

Your dentist will advise you on the choice of materials suitable for you to fill the hole in the tooth and, if you wish, will prepare appropriate estimates.

TIP: Special supplemental dental insurance plans often cover the cost of more elaborate and aesthetic materials.

visit the dentist when in pain

As always, your dentist can give you far better advice about costs & further treatment steps in a face-to-face consultation than any guidebook on the Internet.

What to look out for after a cavity treatment

Depending on how extensive the treatment was that was done to fill your hole in your tooth, there are a few pieces of advice you should keep in mind:

Simple treatment of a small hole in the tooth:Wait until the time specified by the dentist to cure the material used has passed. Be careful chewing hard foods (nuts, bread) for a few days.

Large hole in tooth, filling with amalgam or plastic:Wait until local anesthesia wears off. Respect the curing time of the materials. Also avoid hard foods (nuts, bread) for the first few days.

Large hole in the tooth, filling with metal alloy or ceramic: Since these treatment methods require at least two sessions, you will leave the dental office with a temporary after the first session.

The temporary does not replace a dental filling, so use extreme caution while you are using it.

When the final inlay is in place and sealed, you can – once the sealant has hardened – resume eating and drinking normally.

How to prevent a hole in your tooth

As you have read, holes in teeth are primarily caused by improper or inadequate dental care.

The more thoroughly and regularly you brush your teeth, the less likely you are to develop deposits, cavities and as a result, a hole in your tooth.

In addition: Thorough brushing prevents yellow teeth & ensures that you get naturally white teeth without the use of chemicals.

What should I pay attention to?

Take enough time for a sufficient brushing time. A manual toothbrush is sufficient with proper technique.

However, if you don’t always brush thoroughly (and forget the back incisors, for example), then an electric brush will bring more comfort & healthier teeth.

Recommendation: the best toothbrush

For healthy teeth & a radiant smile, I advise the current test winner, the Sonicare Diamond Clean.

Not only does it help you with excellent cleaning, but it also does most of the work for you – so you can brush with correct technique without much effort.

diamond clean with bluetooth in test

Not least, there are also useful cleaning modes for sensitive teeth or for teeth whitening in addition – which is why the Diamond Clean is currently the best sonic toothbrush.

So if you want to do something for your dental health & save yourself expensive treatments at the doctor in the future, this brush represents one of the most effective options.

Clean interdental spaces

Even the best toothbrush doesn’t reach some places – so you should floss regularly.

How to use interdental brushes

  • It’s best to follow the link to learn more about proper use and alternatives like interdental brushes & Flossettes.
  • Especially convenient are oral irrigators, which clean the interdental spaces with a jet of water – which is much easier than flossing.

Not least, the right toothpaste as well as the appropriate mouthwash also round out a great dental care.

Professional prevention

Visit your dentist at least every six months to check your teeth. He or she may also perform a professional dental cleaning right away to remove plaque and whiten your teeth.

Prevent tooth decay by having your teeth professionally cleaned.

You can do a lot to prevent cavities from developing in your teeth, or to detect and treat them early on, through good oral hygiene and regular checkups.

What happens if a hole in your tooth is not treated?

The consequences of an untreated hole in your tooth can be as painful as they are serious.

missing teeth & expensive implants due to cavities

  • The longer the disease is left untreated, the further it spreads in the mouth. As a result, tooth loss and inflamed, swollen gums are imminent.
  • The first sign of advanced caries is an unpleasant bad breath. The more advanced the caries infestation, the more likely it comes to pain.

In the long term, the tooth is destroyed and surrounding teeth can also be affected.

In addition, serious inflammation in the mouth can radiate to the rest of the body and cause quite other serious diseases.

Summary: How to prevent holes in the teeth

As you have seen, a hole in the tooth is a very normal condition that happens to almost everyone sooner or later.

  • The important thing is to respond as quickly as possible and get the hole treated.
  • To avoid holes, prevention is the best and only prescription.

proper dental care to avoid a hole in your tooth

In addition, once you calmly imagine the consequences that can occur if a hole in the tooth is not treated, you will automatically make a dental appointment as soon as possible at the slightest sign of a hole.

And of course: Proper dental care and a proper diet will help from the start. Best browse this page to learn more about healthy teeth & common dental problems.

This knowledge will help you avoid future discomfort.