Many dental patients believe that dental cavities are black. But cavities come in more than one color. The color of a cavity depends on its severity. And once you can identify a cavity early enough, by its shade, you can take action to halt its progression with the help of your dentist.
Here are the three main colors of dental cavities.
An early cavity is white. Dentists call this stage of cavities "caries". During this early phase, a cavity has yet to form on the surface of the enamel. But the enamel layer is slowly but surely demineralizing due to the oral bacteria living on your teeth. And the acidic foods and drinks you eat also eat away at the enamel surface.
As the enamel layer breaks down, a cavity forms, which allows the oral bacteria to enter the tooth and do even more damage. At this stage of a cavity, the affected tooth will feel sticky and soft to the touch. If you see white spots on your teeth, see your dentist immediately. At this stage, fluoride treatment can help to remineralize the enamel surface and halt the cavity.
2. Grey or Yellow
When a cavity is grey or yellow, this means that a cavity has reached the inner portion of the tooth, below the enamel. The material in this part of the tooth is grey or yellow. Once a cavity reaches this point, it progresses much faster than before. This is because dentin is softer than enamel, and it contains tiny tubules via which bacteria can progress deeper into a tooth.
If you spot a grey or yellow cavity, you need treatment urgently. If you don't have your dentist remove the decay and fill the tooth, the oral bacteria causing the cavity could soon reach the nerve in the center of the tooth. If that happens, your cavity will become painful, and eventually progress to the next color.
Once a cavity has reached the nerve in the center of a tooth, only a root canal can prevent it from spreading even further. Once the nerve dies and the tissue begins to rot inside the tooth, a cavity can turn black. And if left untreated, the tooth may turn black too. At this point, you need urgent treatment to save the tooth and stop the infection.
If you spot a cavity early, you can prevent serious damage from occurring. Examine your teeth often during oral hygiene sessions to ensure that you catch cavities before they worsen.
To learn more about cavities, reach out to a local dentist.