If you’re like most people, you probably think of cavities as those little holes that form in your teeth. But what about cavities that form along the gum line? These are known as gum line cavities, and they can be a real problem for your oral health. In this blog post, we will discuss what causes gum line cavities, how to prevent them, and how to treat them if they do occur.
When it comes to cavities, there are three main types. These include smooth surface cavities, biting surface cavities, and root cavities. Smooth surface cavities are those that form on the smooth surfaces of your teeth, such as the fronts, backs, sides, and in between your teeth. Biting surface cavities, also known as pit and fissure cavities, form on the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Root cavities are cavities that occur below the gum line on the tooth roots.
A gum line cavity is not a specific type of cavity, rather it can be classified as either a smooth surface or root cavity. Cavities that form near the gums, but above the gum line are considered smooth surface cavities, while those that develop on the tooth roots below the gums are known as root cavities. In some cases, gum recession can also cause cavities to form on exposed tooth roots. These would also be considered root cavities.
What Causes Gum Line Cavities?
Like other cavities, the main cause of gum line cavities is plaque accumulation. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth and can cause tooth decay and other dental problems if not removed regularly with brushing and flossing. This is because the bacteria in plaque produce acids that can erode your tooth enamel, leading to the development of cavities.
Gum line cavities can form when plaque accumulates along the gum line. When plaque is not removed regularly, it can harden into calculus (tartar). Calculus is a mineralized plaque that cannot be removed with brushing and flossing. The combination of plaque, tartar, and bacteria can cause gum inflammation (gingivitis). When this happens, it leads to gum recession, which is when the gums pull away from the teeth.
As the gums recede, they expose the tooth roots. Since tooth roots are coated with cementum instead of enamel, gum recession makes them more susceptible to cavities. Root cavities are also more likely to develop at a faster rate since cementum is weak compared to enamel and bacteria can erode through it faster.
How to Treat Gum Line Cavities
The best way to treat gum line cavities is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. This can be done by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, using a fluoride toothpaste, and seeing your dentist for regular checkups.
If you do develop a gum line cavity, your dentist will likely recommend a dental treatment plan that depends on the exact location of your gum line cavity. For example, smooth surface cavities that have eroded through the tooth enamel can usually be repaired with composite fillings. Some root cavities may be able to be restored this way as well.
However, root cavities that have extended below the gums may require more extensive treatment. This is usually due to the fact that your dentist is unable to visualize and treat the entire cavity since it is concealed below the gums. In these cases, a root canal and/or minor gum surgery may be required. Ultimately, only your dentist can determine the best course of action once they evaluate your cavity.
Gum line cavities are a type of cavity that can form on the smooth surfaces of your teeth or on exposed tooth roots. The main cause of gum line cavities is plaque accumulation, which can lead to tooth decay and gingivitis. If you develop a gum line cavity, your dentist will likely recommend a treatment plan that depends on the exact location of your cavity. In most cases, gum line cavities can be treated with composite fillings or a root canal and/or minor gum surgery. Prevention is the best way to avoid developing gum line cavities in the first place. This can be done by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, using a fluoride toothpaste, and seeing your dentist for regular checkups.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.