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Hole in Tooth

A hole in a tooth indicates that you have a cavity and is a sign of tooth decay, an extremely common bacterial infection. You can develop a hole in your tooth when the outer coating of tooth enamel has become damaged, allowing bacteria found naturally in your mouth to penetrate the inner part of the tooth called dentin. Unlike enamel, dentin is far softer and more easily eroded, so the cavity will continue to grow. Even if you only have a tiny hole in a tooth, it could hide a far larger cavity underneath, and there is a real risk that one day when you bite down, the tooth will begin to crumble.

What Are the Signs That I Have a Cavity?

Initially, a tiny hole in a tooth may not cause any symptoms and can be difficult to see. The first sign of a cavity is noticing that a tooth has developed a white spot as the enamel gradually erodes.

Over time, the white spot will become gray or darker, and the cavity will become visible on an x-ray. You may notice the tooth has become increasingly sensitive when you enjoy an ice cream or a cold beverage or eat anything very hot or sweet.

By now, the hole could be visible, and you might begin experiencing tooth pain that can be continuous or only present when you bite down. Because the cavity underneath could be far larger than the hole in the enamel, there is a real risk the infection will be close to or has reached your tooth nerve in the dental pulp.

The dental pulp is right in the tooth’s center and is a collection of soft tissues, including the nerve, connective tissues, and blood vessels. When it becomes infected and inflamed, it is extremely painful.

Without treatment, the infection will continue to spread into the tooth roots and can form an abscess right at the tip of the tooth root or in the gum and bone near the tooth. An abscess can cause persistent bad breath and a nasty taste. It can affect your overall health, so you may feel increasingly unwell and develop a fever and facial swelling.

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Best dental experience ever. Professional and very clean office. Everyone from the receptionist to the hygienist to the dentist are amazing. So friendly and patient. You can even watch TV while getting work done on your teeth!

Nora S.

What to Do If You Think You Have a Hole in a Tooth?

If you are concerned you have a cavity in a tooth, please come and see us here at South Nassau Dental Arts as soon as you can. Our dentist can gently assess the tooth, checking for any small lesions or pits, or signs of holes. After visually examining your tooth, we will almost certainly need to take dental x-rays to evaluate the tooth further. If you have a toothache, we can provide immediate treatment to relieve the pain and discomfort, and we always make every effort to see people in pain as soon as possible, preferably on the same day.

What is the Treatment for a Hole in a Tooth?

The recommended treatment option will depend on the size of the cavity. If the tooth has yet to develop a true hole and there is just a tiny lesion in the enamel, we may be able to re-harden the tooth enamel by applying fluoride topically. Treatment for a small to a medium-sized hole in a tooth is generally to remove the damaged portion of the tooth, restoring it with a filling. The filling can be tooth-colored, made from a strong, durable composite resin or porcelain, and virtually invisible. If a cavity is more extensive and the infection has reached the dental pulp, you may need root canal therapy to remove the infection and save the tooth from extraction.

Can I Treat a Hole in a Tooth at Home?

You can take over-the-counter pain relievers to cope with any toothache caused by a cavity, but you cannot treat tooth decay at home. You need professional dental care to remove all signs of decay and get rid of the infection before the tooth is fully restored.

Is It Possible to Prevent Holes in Teeth?

Tooth decay is very common, but it is preventable with the right dental care. Ensuring you look after your teeth properly by brushing them at least twice a day and daily flossing will help remove the bacteria that cause tooth decay. These bacteria are found in dental plaque, a sticky, soft biofilm that gradually builds up on your teeth between brushings. When regularly removed, these bacteria are much less likely to cause cavities. Your dietary choices are also a huge factor. If you frequently snack on sugary or starchy foods, your risk of tooth decay is higher because these foods allow bacteria to thrive. The bacteria produce an acid that gradually erodes your tooth enamel, eventually causing a hole.

Regular preventive professional dental care is also extremely important, so make sure you visit us twice a year for regular dental checkups and dental cleanings. Even someone with an excellent oral care routine will leave behind some dental plaque, and it soon hardens into tartar or calculus, a crusty substance that can only be removed during your dental cleaning. A professional dental cleaning is an easy and effective way to maintain strong and healthy teeth and a well-maintained smile.