How do you get a Cavity on the back of front tooth?

Cavity on the back of the front tooth

A cavity on the back of the front tooth is infrequent among adults. However, children put to bed with a bottle are more prone to tooth decay on the front teeth. 

The food debris is quickly washed away by saliva from the smooth polished surface behind the front teeth, making them less likely to develop tooth decay. Nevertheless, there are a few exceptions to this. In this article, we will look into the factors that can lead to decay on this surface and ways to manage and prevent it.

Cavity or dental caries is an infection of the tooth where the chemical dissolution of the tooth surface occurs as a result of metabolic events taking place in the plaque covering the tooth. The disease usually starts by breaching the hard calcified outer enamel and progresses through the dentin (second layer of the tooth) into the innermost pulp. 

Can you get a cavity on the back of your front tooth?

A cavity on the back of the front tooth often doesn’t develop, especially in adults, due to its smooth surface. However, this surface is often overlooked by patients because of the lack of visibility and difficult access by a toothbrush. 

Some people get a cavity on the back side of the upper lateral incisor (second tooth from the center). Changes in the shape of this tooth are usually encountered in dental practice with varying depths of a pit on the tooth’s inner surface. The pit provides breeding grounds for plaque bacteria to flourish if the pit is not kept clean. 

The incidence of cavities on the back of front tooth increases with age and is hardly seen in young people. However, certain conditions make you prone to these cavities. These conditions involve:

  • A decrease in salivary flow due to radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, certain medicines, etc., provides favorable conditions for the plaque to cling to a dry tooth and initiate cavity formation.  
  • Patients with one or more outwardly placed teeth due to the lack of space are also prone to cavities. The overlapped back surface of these teeth by adjacent teeth makes plaque removal challenging. 
  • Faulty enamel formation because of the developmental defects in enamel makes teeth more receptive to plaque deposition and susceptible to acid attack by acids produced by plaque bacteria.
  • The patients with lingual braces (brackets on the inner side of the tooth) are less (4.8 times less) likely to develop caries than the brackets placed on the outside surface, presumably because the lingual brackets cover the entire tooth surface leaving no space for plaque accumulation. Regardless, the tooth with brackets gets plaque deposits more often than without braces. 
  • In patients with gum recession, the exposed roots that are not cleaned correctly may cause tooth decay. 

What does a cavity look like on the back of the front tooth?

A cavity begins on the back of the front teeth with reversible dull white spots. The white zone shows areas of mineral loss or demineralization.  

A cavity that progresses into dentin appears as half moon-shaped or scooped out brown or black discoloration. Moreover, the cavities on the front teeth often involve the area next to the gum line, particularly in teeth with gum recession. 

How to fix a cavity on the back of your front tooth?

Before fixing a front tooth, dentists conduct a few tests to check if the tooth is alive with one or more x-rays to confirm the extent of the decay. The treatment varies with the spread of infection and involves the following:

Fluoride treatment for early stages of demineralization

The application of different forms of fluoride prevents the progression of decay at an early stage. Fluoride works on the teeth through three mechanisms

  • Stop the mineral loss from enamel.
  • The lost mineral from enamel is replaced by fluoride making it more resistant to acid attack.
  • It also hampers the production of bacterial products (from decay-causing bacteria) that produce acid to dissolve minerals from the tooth.

Several methods are used to deliver fluoride to the teeth in caries susceptible patients. These include the following:

Composite filling for a small to moderate-sized cavity

Front teeth with small to moderate-sized decay require a tooth-colored composite filling. The teeth restored by composite filling material involve two main steps, namely, 

  • Preparing the tooth for placement of restorative material
  • Placement of composite material. 

Root canal treatment for a deep cavity

The infection encroaching on the nerves (pulp) of the tooth requires root canal treatment. It involves the replacement of irreversibly damaged pulp with a biocompatible material to repair the diseased tooth.  

How to prevent a cavity on the back of the front tooth

The tips and instructions listed below benefits patients in preventing a cavity on the back of the front tooth: 

  • Make a habit of brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes and flossing once daily. Good oral hygiene reduces plaque that harbors cavity-producing bacteria.
  • The use of fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash protects teeth against tooth decay. The dentists also recommend fluoride varnish in cavities susceptible to patients. 
  • Eating fiber-rich food has a natural scrubbing action on the teeth. Also, avoid refined foods and drinks as they stick to the teeth because of the absence of fiber. 
  • Avoid tooth brushing for at least 20 min after a sugary meal, as toothbrush bristles can damage the softened enamel.

Following remedies benefits patients with dry mouths:

 Chewing on sugar-free Xylitol gums after meals increases salivary flow. Saliva contains enzymes and minerals that aid in giving minerals (calcium and phosphate ions) back to the demineralized teeth, a process known as remineralization.

Frequently sipping on the water keep their tissues (mouth) hydrated. 

  • In patients with crooked or outwardly positioned teeth, using a compact tuft toothbrush removes plaque from the areas where teeth overlap and are inaccessible to a regular toothbrush.
  • Dentists advise using compact tuft toothbrush or proxabrush to clean between the wires and around the brackets in orthodontic patients where a regular-sized toothbrush cannot reach.
  • Drinking some plain water washes sugars out of the mouth after a sugary food or drink.
  • Annual dental checkup helps in the early diagnosis and treatment of tooth decay.

Frequently asked questions 

Can a front tooth be filled?

Yes, front teeth can be filled with a tooth-colored filling if the infection is in the dentin and hasn’t advanced into the nerves (pulp) of the tooth. The process involves the removal of decay with a dental drill followed by a composite filling. 

Can you stop the tooth decay once it starts?

Yes, you can stop tooth decay once it starts; however, eliminating the existing decay requires you to call upon the dentist. The dentist will remove the decay and restore your tooth with a filling. You also need to maintain your oral hygiene and keep checking on plaque build-up. Additionally, it would help if you make some dietary changes, such as eating more fibrous food and cutting on refined foods.

How long do front teeth fillings last?

Fillings in the front teeth require a lot of care because they are only supported from two sides and are prone to breakage on biting hard food. Patients are instructed to bite soft foods such as sandwiches, avoiding any hard food that can dislodge the filling. If taken good care of, the restoration can last up to 8-10 years. 

Summary 

A cavity on the back of front tooth is uncommon due to its smooth surface. People with the decreased salivary flow and crowded teeth often get holes in the front teeth. Also, orthodontic patients and people with enamel defects are more prone to front tooth decay.

The decay appears as black or brown discoloration or a small cavity on the back of the front tooth. In patients with gum recession, a cavity at the top of the front tooth near the gum line can also be seen. 

The cavities are restored by removing the decay and filling with a composite filling. 

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