How Long Does It Take For A Cavity To Form?

Although it can certainly feel like that sometimes, cavities don't just appear overnight. It can take quite a few months or even more for a cavity to develop. But how long exactly? And how can you identify the first signs of a cavity so you can take the proper steps to reverse it? 

Here's everything you need to know. 

How Does a Cavity Form?

A cavity is a small hole in the tooth that appears as a result of tooth decay. Cavities form as the acids from the bacteria in the mouth slowly eat away at the tooth enamel, creating an entry point for bacteria to get inside and affect the tooth's inner layer. 

As we said, a cavity doesn't just appear overnight, but it goes through several stages before it can create some actual damage: 

  • Demineralization - This is the first stage of tooth decay where the teeth are constantly exposed to acids. 
  • Enamel Decay - As the enamel is attacked by acid, it eventually decays, and a hole is formed. 
  • Dentin Decay - If the damage continues, the decay will reach the dentin, which is the soft tissue right under the enamel. 
  • Pulp Decay - As the bacteria continue to wreak havoc, they will eventually reach the pulp. 
  • Abscess - If bacteria continue to spread after reaching the pulp, it can eventually lead to an abscess. 

How Long Does It Take for a Cavity to Form? 

It's impossible to give an exact number as several factors can influence the speed at which a cavity will develop. As we said, it can take months or even years for a cavity to develop, depending on:

  • Enamel thickness 
  • Enamel health 
  • Your oral hygiene 
  • Where the decay is located 
  • How acidic your saliva is

Symptoms of a Cavity 

Unfortunately, the early stages of tooth decay don't present any obvious signs. You may notice a white spot on your tooth, but other than that, it's very unlikely that you will experience any pain. That's the bad news, as a cavity can be reversed if it's identified in the early stage of demineralization. This is why regular check-ups for preventive dental care are essential to your oral health. 

As the decay progresses and reaches the inner layers of the tooth, you may start noticing symptoms such as: 

  • Tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Pain when you are eating sweets

What Can I Do If I Have a Cavity? 

Preventive is the best treatment, so try to schedule regular dental appointments, ideally every six months. 

If you start experiencing the symptoms of a cavity, you can count on Overhill Dental to provide the care you need and restore your oral health. Whether it's preventive, restorative, or even emergency dentistry in South Los Angeles, we've got you covered! 

Get in touch with us right now to book your appointment. 

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