Ideally, you should visit a local dentist's office often enough so that any cavities are identified and treated before they have a chance to develop further. If you should notice any suspicious changes to your teeth that might indicate a cavity, you can schedule a dental appointment, regardless of how long it might be until your next checkup. Of course, this can be difficult when a cavity develops and you're unable to see it.

Telltale Signs

The telltale signs of dental cavities are rather distinctive. As your protective dental enamel wears away, the underlying dentin is exposed. The cavity itself starts as a tiny discoloration, which will become darker as the tooth essentially begins to rot. This is the cavity, and the discolored portion will be removed (generally with a dental drill), eliminating the decay and creating a site for the filling material to be applied. The process is fairly straightforward unless you're unable to see the cavity.

Beneath the Gum Line

You might think of your teeth only existing in the parts you can see, as in the section that extends outwards from your gum line. However, a small amount of the tooth, along with its root structure, exists beneath the gum line and is not visible. This concealed portion of a tooth is still susceptible to cavities, and this is known as a gum line cavity.

Dental Checkups

Regular dental checkups are vital for a number of reasons, including the fact that you might not notice the signs of a gum line cavity until the decay has progressed. It could be that you're unable to see anything, and the first tangible sign of a problem is discomfort, or even pain, especially if the cavity has created the opportunity for a dental abscess to develop. Since the majority of the damage (or even the entirety) is located beneath your gum line, how can your dentist treat the problem?

Treating a Gum Line Cavity

Applying dental fillings to teeth above the gum line is one of the more standard duties your dentist will have to perform, but it's a different case when the cavity is not so easily accessible. When a gum line cavity is suspected, an x-ray or radiography scan might be necessary. Once the gum line cavity has been identified, your dentist will need to access the site. It might be necessary for a small incision to be made in your gums, so that your dentist can delicately fold back the tissues covering the base of your teeth, allowing them to fill the cavity.

A gum line cavity isn't as easy to treat as a standard one, but it must be treated; otherwise, you run a considerable risk of infection, periodontal disease, and perhaps even the loss of the tooth. Be sure to keep up with your regular dental checkups.