Lybrate Logo
Get the App
For Doctors
Book Appointment
Ask a Question
Plan my Surgery
Health Feed
Health Feed
Find Doctors

Cavities: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Cost

Last Updated: Jul 04, 2023

What are Cavities?

Topic Image

Cavities, also known as tooth decay, are a common dental problem that is caused by the destruction of the hard surface of teeth. They form when bacteria in the mouth break down and dissolve the minerals in teeth, creating small holes or cavities.

Types of Cavities

Topic Image

There are several types of cavities, including:

  • Smooth Surface Cavities: These cavities form on the smooth surfaces of teeth, such as the chewing surface. They are usually caused by frequent snacking or poor oral hygiene.
  • Pit and Fissure Cavities: These cavities form on the grooved surfaces of molars and premolars and can be caused by eating sugary foods or not brushing properly.
  • Root Cavity: This type of cavity forms at the root of a tooth, when it is exposed due to gum recession or bone loss.
  • Recurrent Decay: This occurs when a previous cavity has been filled but has decayed again due to inadequate cleaning or poor dental hygiene habits.

What causes Cavities?

  • Cavities are caused by bacteria that produce acid that eat away at the enamel on teeth, leading to holes in the teeth known as cavities.
  • The main cause of cavities is poor oral hygiene, meaning not brushing and flossing regularly or not having regular dental check-ups.
  • Eating sugary and starchy foods also increases the chances of developing cavities, as these foods provide fuel for the bacteria in your mouth.

What are the symptoms of Cavities?

The most common symptoms of cavities are tooth pain or sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.Other symptoms may include:


How can you prevent Cavities?

  • It is crucial to maintain a healthy oral hygiene regimen and limit the number of sugary snacks you eat in order to prevent cavities.
  • The removal of food particles and germs from the teeth and gums can be accomplished by brushing the teeth twice a day and flossing on a regular basis.
  • Additionally, using an antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce plaque buildup.
  • To further protect your teeth, cut back on sugary or acidic drinks like soda or juice and avoid eating too many sweets and starchy foods.
  • It is important to see your dentist on a regular basis for checkups to ensure that your teeth continue to be healthy and free of cavities.

Cavities - Diagnosis and Tests

There are a few different tests that can be used to check for cavities:

  • Visual inspection: During a routine dental examination, your dentist will look for signs of cavities, such as holes or dark spots on the surfaces of your teeth.
  • Dental X-ray: An X-ray can show cavities that are not visible during a visual inspection, as well as cavities that are forming between your teeth.
  • Cavity-detection dye: Your dentist may apply a special dye to the surfaces of your teeth that will help to identify areas where cavities are present.
  • Laser fluorescence: This test uses a laser to measure the amount of fluorescence in your teeth. Healthy teeth will fluoresce at a different rate than teeth with cavities, allowing your dentist to identify areas of decay.

What are possible complications of Cavities?

  • If left untreated, cavities can lead to a number of serious complications. Common complications include tooth decay, pain, infection, tooth loss, enamel erosion and gum disease.
  • In some cases, untreated cavities can also cause damage to the surrounding bone and tissue in the mouth.
  • If an infection spreads from the mouth to other parts of the body through the bloodstream, it can lead to serious medical complications such as heart disease and stroke.

Home Remedies for Cavities?

  • Oil Pulling: Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing oil around in the mouth for up to 20 minutes and then spitting it out. It is believed to draw out toxins, reduce inflammation, and strengthen teeth and gums.
  • Salt Water Rinse: A salt water rinse can help to reduce inflammation and draw out any infection from the mouth. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and rinse your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Repeat this a few times a day for best results.
  • Turmeric Mouthwash: Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory spice commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine that can help treat cavities naturally by killing off bacteria that cause decay.
  • Neem Leaves: Neem leaves have antibacterial properties which make them great for treating cavities naturally. Chew on neem leaves everything morning or boil them in water and use as a mouthwash twice daily until the cavity heals completely!
  • Fenugreek Seeds: Fenugreek seeds are known to be antimicrobial, so they’re great for treating cavities naturally!

What to eat in Cavities?

  • Eat foods high in calcium.
  • Dietary sources of vitamins and minerals, include dark leafy greens, fruits, nuts, whole grains, dairy products, lean proteins, and healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Consume a lot of water so that you can keep your body hydrated.

What not to eat in Cavities?

  • Avoid sugary and starchy foods, such as candy, cookies, cakes, chips, crackers, popcorn, white bread, and pasta.
  • Cut down on acidic fruits and drinks like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons.
  • Reduce your consumption of carbonated or sugary drinks like soda, sweet tea, and juice, or get rid of them altogether.
  • Avoid sticky foods like dried fruit that can get stuck in your teeth and provide a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Limit snacks to whole fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods high in sugar or carbohydrates that can stick to your teeth.

Cavities Treatment

The most common treatment for cavities are :

  • Tooth sealants: Tooth sealants may be recommended for patients with deep grooves in their teeth which make them more prone to cavities. A sealant is a thin plastic coating that is applied directly onto the surface of a tooth; it helps protect against plaque and bacteria buildup which cause cavities.
  • Amalgam fillings: A mixture of mercury, silver, copper, and tin that is used to fill in the hole in the tooth caused by the cavity.
  • Composite resin fillings: A specific kind of plastic substance that is stuffed into the cavity that has formed in the tooth as a result of the cavity.
  • Glass ionomer fillings: A type of filling made from a mixture of glass and a resin that is used to fill in the hole in the tooth caused by the cavity.
  • Root canal surgery: A root canal is a dental procedure that is used to treat a tooth that has become infected or damaged.

Which doctor to consult for Cavities?

When dealing with cavities, it is best to consult a dentist. A dentist can examine the area, determine the extent of the cavity, and then decide on the best course of treatment which may include filling, crowns or root canals. Additionally, a dentist can provide advice on preventive measures to help reduce the risk of cavities in the future.

Which are the best medicines for Cavities?

  • Antibiotics: Medications that are used to kill bacteria and are often prescribed to treat infections, including those that affect the mouth.Some example include Penicillin, Amoxicillin
  • Fluoride: A substance that is added to toothpaste, mouthwash, and other oral hygiene products to help strengthen the tooth and prevent cavities.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: A category of drugs that can be used with the purpose of reducing inflammation and providing pain relief. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are all examples of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

How long does it take to recover from Cavities?

The recovery time for cavities can vary greatly depending on the severity of the cavity and the type of treatment needed. In general, minor cavities may take a few weeks to fill or repair, while more severe cases may require multiple visits and take up to several months to fully recover.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of cavity treatment are generally permanent, as long as good oral hygiene is maintained.

What are the post- treatments guidelines?

Generally, patients should follow their dentist’s instructions for post-operative care, which may include:

  • Taking antibiotics, if prescribed.
  • Avoiding hard or sticky foods that may cause pain or damage to the treated area.
  • Brushing and flossing gently around the treated area, as recommended by your dentist.
  • Rinsing with salt water or a mouthwash provided by your dentist to help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
  • Scheduling regular checkups with your dentist in order to monitor healing and prevent further decay or infection of other teeth in the area of treatment.

What is the cost of Cavities treatments in India?

The cost of cavities treatments in India varies depending on the severity of the cavities and type of treatment needed.

Generally, a filling may cost anywhere between Rs. 500-3000 and root canal may cost anywhere between Rs. 3000-15000.

It is important to visit a qualified dentist to assess the extent of damage and obtain an accurate estimate for treatment costs.

What are side-effects of Cavities treatments?

The most common side-effects of cavities may include temporary sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, pain or discomfort when chewing, and soreness in the gums.

Cavities - Outlook / Prognosis

If you are suffering from any complications relating to Cavities then you should consult a doctor nearby as they can cause complications like ' tooth decay, pain, infection, tooth loss, enamel erosion and gum disease'in which treatment courses can range from a few months to years depending on the severity of the situation.

Table of content

Content Details
Profile Image
Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
Reviewed By
Profile Image
Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
Need more help 

15+ Years of Surgical Experience

All Insurances Accepted

EMI Facility Available at 0% Rate

Find Dentist near me


Ask a free question

Get FREE multiple opinions from Doctors

posted anonymously