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What Causes a Cavity on the Front Tooth?

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Learning that you or your child developed a cavity can be stressful, especially when that cavity is located in a highly visible part of the mouth, such as the front teeth. If your child has a cavity on the front tooth or you have one yourself, you may be wondering why it happened and how your dentist might treat it.

Common Cavity Locations

According to the Indian Dental Association, early childhood caries is one of the most severe forms of tooth decay, which involves the surfaces of teeth, usually considered immune to tooth decay. A special characteristic is that it typically involves maxillary primary incisors, upper and lower molars. These teeth are located in the back of the mouth and have grooves and pits that can collect food particles. The back teeth may also be harder to reach with a toothbrush or floss.

While the front teeth are smoother and easier to access for cleaning, they're not immune to cavities. Any of your teeth can develop decay.

Causes of Front Tooth Cavities

If cavities are more commonly seen in back teeth, why might you develop a cavity on the front tooth? Indian Paediatrics reports that dental caries is a public health problem in India with a prevalence as high as 60-80% in Indian children, because when children are fed with bottles for prolonged periods it may lead to fast destruction of upper front and lower back teeth sparing lower front teeth. . Decay caused by these beverages is known as baby bottle tooth decay.

The National Health Portal of India notes that cavities commonly called as “tooth decay” is a damage to the outer protective layer of the tooth i.e. enamel. It is the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults. In most developing low-income countries, the prevalence rate of dental caries is high and more than 90% of caries are untreated. An estimated 5 billion people worldwide suffer from dental caries. Forgetting to brush your teeth, skipping your flossing routine and consuming sugary foods and drinks puts you at risk of developing cavities.

Treatment Options

It's important to seek treatment for a cavity as soon as possible before the decay worsens. This could be particularly important for front teeth cavities, because the Public Health England survey notes that children with decay in their front teeth may be more likely to have additional teeth affected.

There are many ways that dentists can repair a front tooth cavity. Much like cavities elsewhere in the mouth, cavities in the front teeth may be treated with fillings. A dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and fill it with a strong, restorative material. For a natural look, tooth-coloured fillings may be used. The Indian Dental Association explains that there are three major types of direct filling materials - (a) Silver amalgam, made of a mixture of an alloy of silver-tin and liquid mercury, (b) composite (combination of glass/porcelain particles in a plastic matrix), (c) temporary filling materials. There are also three major types of indirect filling material - (a) gold (and other semi precious metals), (b) fused porcelain, (c) composite. This treatment typically only takes one appointment.

To correct cosmetic issues that arise from a cavity on a front tooth, a dentist may recommend treating the cavity with either a crown, which is a tooth-shaped white coloured restoration over the decayed tooth, or a veneer, which is a thin piece of porcelain bonded to the front surface of the tooth. The IDA explains that these options may require two or more dental visits, and they can also be designed to match the patient's natural tooth colour. Your dentist can help you determine the best treatment option for your individual situation.

Preventing Tooth Decay

No one wants to develop cavities. ADA's MouthHealthy highlights that you can help prevent tooth decay by following the steps like - brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, clean between your teeth daily with floss or inter-dental cleaner, eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking, check with your dentist about the use of supplemental fluoride, visit your dentist regularly. . . . .

If you develop a cavity in your front tooth or notice that your child has developed one, rest assured that these cavities can be treated. By taking simple precautions, you can reduce your risk of future tooth dec ay and help your whole family mainta in healthy smiles.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.