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Dentist appreciate patients who are informed and will take the time to answer their questions. But they’re also realists. Dentist know that most people would rather not spend 45 minutes getting a cavity drilled, filled and refilled as many times as necessary to prevent a tooth from fracturing later on. So when it comes to informing their patients about cavities, dentists don’t exactly exaggerate the risk, but they do emphasise just how much damage those cavities can cause if left untreated. And since we all have a natural fear of pain, infection and decay — or at least we think we do — this is probably the most effective way for dentists to convince you that you need checkups every six months instead of once a year.

How do Dentists Exaggerate Cavities?

Dentists are trained to understand the fears and concerns of their patients. They listen carefully when patients describe their pain and discomfort, and they also understand that different patients have different tolerances for discomfort. That’s why dentists try to share their knowledge and experience with patients who are unfamiliar with their profession. But they also understand the best way to inform patients about their oral health is in a way that’s going to have the strongest impact. When it comes to informing their patients about cavities, dentists don’t exactly exaggerate the risk, but they do emphasise just how much damage those caries can cause if left untreated.

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The Dangers of Cavity Decay

Cavity decay is a process that begins when bacteria in your mouth combine with sugars from foods and beverages and create acid that erodes tooth enamel. This acid and minerals from saliva combine to form a substance called dental plaque that adheres to your teeth and hardens into tartar. This can be difficult to remove with a toothbrush. Dentists recommend that you brush and floss at least twice a day and use a mouthwash to reduce the risk of cavity acid damage and tartar buildup. If you don’t take good care of your teeth, bacteria can spread and grow throughout your mouth and cause gum disease.

tooth decay

They can also reach into the root of your teeth and cause cavities. If left untreated, cavity acid can break down the structure of your teeth to the point where they become brittle and fragile. If a tooth breaks, it can be difficult to repair, and you may need a denture or even a tooth extraction.

Decaying Teeth can lead to Root Canal Treatment

Cavity decay to the point where it damages the pulp of your teeth can lead to an infection and require a root canal. When a dentist removes the infected pulp, they fill the tooth with a special material called gutta-percha and seal it with a crown. Dentists recommend that you get your teeth cleaned and checked at least once every six months, and even more frequently if you consume a lot of sugary foods and beverages.

root canal treatment
Human tooth anatomy dentistry medical concept as a cross section of a molar with nerves and root canal symbol as a 3D illustration.

If you don’t take care of your teeth, they’re more likely to break down and need special repairs. When this happens, you may need root canals or tooth extractions. Root canals are painful and can lead to long-term dental issues like pain and sensitivity. And tooth extractions can be expensive, painful and leave you in need of dentures.

Loss of Bone Structure and Mobility

As you age, your teeth will become less sturdy. This can happen due to genetics, diet and lifestyle, and it can lead to the loss of bone structure and mobility. If a tooth is barely holding on, you’ll likely need a root canal and a crown. If you don’t take care of your teeth, you could lose them. And it’s possible for you to lose your jawbone as well. If one or more of your teeth are missing and you don’t take good care of the remaining teeth, the jawbone can shrink and cause your teeth to move out of place. This can make eating difficult, and you may need dentures. In extreme cases, you may even need to undergo a procedure called a mandibular advancement surgery, or MAS.

Mandibular Advancement Surgery (MAS)

The mandibular jawbone can shrink due to genetics or diet and lifestyle factors like smoking. When this happens, teeth can move out of place, and it may become difficult or impossible to bite down on solid foods. A doctor can surgically move the jawbone forward to make room for teeth and allow patients to chew properly. If you don’t take care of your teeth, you could lose your jawbone — or even your entire lower jaw. And if your jawbone is gone, you’ll need a feeding tube and a way to access it. You may also need a surgical procedure called a mandibular advancement surgery, or MAS. This procedure moves your lower jaw forward so you can bite down on food.


Taking care of your teeth is important, and it’s true that decaying teeth can lead to all of these complications. If you don’t take care of your teeth, you’re at greater risk of experiencing these issues. If you’re worried about your oral health, it’s important to see a dentist for an examination at least once every six months. A dentist can help identify issues early and recommend preventative measures such as flossing and using mouthwash to keep your teeth strong and cavity free.

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