Family dentistry, General Dentistry

The Five Stages of a Cavity

stages of a cavity Claremore

In this message from Flawless Smile Dentistry in Broken Arrow and Claremore OK, we discuss something about cavities you might not know. You may have heard that once tooth enamel is eroded, it’s gone forever. This is not entirely true. In the earliest stage of enamel erosion, a cavity can be reversed.

In order to keep you informed, we have put together the five stages of a cavity:

Stage 1: Attack of the Little White Spots

White spots are the first signs of damage. They appear under the surface of the enamel, but are visible from the outside. Demineralization will occur in these spots. Daily dental hygiene and regular dental exams are crucial in avoiding this. At this stage, it’s possible to halt a cavity before it needs a filling. Dental hygiene can stop the erosion. Fluoride can remineralize the enamel.

This means that Stage 1 is reversible.

Stage 2: Enamel Decay

Did you know that tooth decay begins under the surface of the enamel? The visible enamel is intact for the first part of Stage 2. Then the hole busts through the surface.

It is often impossible to reverse Stage 2, but the tooth can likely still be saved.

Stage 3: Going Deeper Into the Dentin

The decay breaks down the enamel and hits the soft dentin layer that lies below. This is an advanced cavity. The good news is that decay hasn’t yet reached the pulp. It will, however, start to cause pain.

Stage 3 cannot be reversed, but with proper action, it might be possible to avoid a root canal.

Stage 4: Ouch! The Decay Hits the Pulp

At our practice, we hope to intervene soon enough that nobody will ever suffer stage 4. It is a very painful stage in which the infection has reached the pulp where the nerves are located. Unfortunately, a root canal is the only treatment option. Unless, of course, the tooth is extracted.

Stage 4 is irreversible and must be treated with a root canal.

Stage 5: Abscess Distress

At this stage, the decay and infection have traveled through the pulp and out the end. In the final stage, the decay drills through the tip and infects the tissue and bone surrounding the tooth root. The area swells up and becomes exceptionally painful. This is a serious infection and hazardous to anyone’s health.  Abscesses originating in a tooth can spread infection to other areas, and the results can be fatal.

Stage 5 cannot be reversed and is life-threatening. It must be dealt with immediately.

If you find yourself at any of these stages, Flawless Smile Dentistry in Broken Arrow and Claremore OK can help. Patients from throughout Foyil, Chouteau, and Tulsa come to us for general and family dentistry. Request an appointment today!

Contact Flawless Smile Dentistry:

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

Broken Arrow:
2319 North 9th Street
Broken Arrow,OK 74012


1502 W Blue Starr Dr
Claremore, OK 74017



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