17 answers

Can Cavities Be Reversed?

Okay I think I'm losing my mind! Our dentist found 3 cavities in my daughter , this was about 5 weeks ago, (all in baby teeth, but in molars that will be there for several years) . She has had regular check ups. We are scheduled to have fillings done in a couple of days. I looked in her mouth today and now I cannot see the brown spot that was there before. Now this is just one of the cavities, all of them were confirmed with x-rays. I have had experience with a children's dentist that suggested way too agressive treatment, (this was a different circumstance, different dentist). I just hate to go through all this , if it is possible that this could go away if we "wait and see". I tend to get more skeptical of doctors as time goes on. Anyone have any experience with this? Did we have cavities when we were kids, and just didnt' know it, and it took care of itself?

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What can I do next?

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Hi
I've been a practicing registered dental hygienist for 11 years. Once a cavity has progressed through the enamel to the next layer called dentin, it is NOT reversible and spreads quickly as it is much softer than enamel. If these cavities were diagnosed (especially with x-rays which leads me to believe they were inbetween the teeth) then I'd definitely get them fixed. They only get worse not better. It's impossible for a cavity to disappear that has gone through the enamel. You may have seen some food debris or something when you looked in her mouth before and saw a brown spot or just can't see it anymore due to lighting or angle or something. You can always have the dentist show you the cavities again before they get filled to make you feel more comfortable about it. DON'T just let them go! You don't want to deal with a pulpotomy (baby root canal) when it could have been a simple filling.

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No a real cavity cannot be reversed. However, if you are not confident in this dentist, go to another for a 2nd opinion. Have them show you the dark spot on the xray that indicates a cavity.

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Whatever you decide, do not wait and see. This could result in an abscess (infection) that can be extremely painful and harmful to your child. If you doubt the integrity of the dentist your child is seeing, please get a second opinion.
Ask your dentist to point out where the cavities are both in her mouth and on the xrays. Often the decay in baby teeth are between the teeth and not visible in the mouth but only on xray. Once they are visible on xray they are too big to remineralize as they have penetrated the enamel and are into the next layer called dentin.
Early decay, often called White Spot Lesions, can be reversed! Diligent brushing with fluoride, staying away from sweets, only drinking WATER between meals, and even chewing sugarless gum that contains Xylitol as the MAIN ingredient can reverse this early decay (again, not decay that is visible on xray and into the dentin). I have found only two brands of gum with this as the main ingredient besides what you can get through dental suppliers. They are ICEBREAKERS ICECUBES (NOT just Icebreakers) and MENTOS. Another great tip for prevention: if the teeth are touching each other, toothbrushing will not reach inbetween the teeth and they will not be clean. You must floss teeth that are touching once per day. Another great tip for children old enough to understand and NOT swallow toothpaste (I do this for myself every time I brush) is to NOT RINSE with water or eat or drink anything for 20-30 minutes following brushing. I use the toothpaste solution created during brushing to swish vigorously between my teeth for about one minute, spit out as much as I can, then DO NOT RINSE. This allows the fluoride to contact your teeth longer and does strengthen your teeth making them more resistant to decay. Hope this helps! Dr G. (yes I am a dentist)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi
I've been a practicing registered dental hygienist for 11 years. Once a cavity has progressed through the enamel to the next layer called dentin, it is NOT reversible and spreads quickly as it is much softer than enamel. If these cavities were diagnosed (especially with x-rays which leads me to believe they were inbetween the teeth) then I'd definitely get them fixed. They only get worse not better. It's impossible for a cavity to disappear that has gone through the enamel. You may have seen some food debris or something when you looked in her mouth before and saw a brown spot or just can't see it anymore due to lighting or angle or something. You can always have the dentist show you the cavities again before they get filled to make you feel more comfortable about it. DON'T just let them go! You don't want to deal with a pulpotomy (baby root canal) when it could have been a simple filling.

1 mom found this helpful

I know your question is kind of old, but I think you can have a "soft spot" which is the very beginning of a cavity - I have had a couple but my father would clean it out a bit (he is a dentist) and then I had sealants on my teeth. I have never had an actual cavity because of this. If your insurance will help cover it, I highly recommend getting sealants. It usually will for children but not adults, but I still get my done when I go home to visit! I don't think enough people know about sealants and I don't think their dentists tell them because they wouldn't make as much $ in the long run off their patients!

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Hi I am a dental assistant now a SAHM. Some cavities are in teeth but are still small and are not always noticable with the naked eye. Cavities will not go away on their own and need to treated as soon as possible . They will only grow bigger and cause further damage . Untreated decay can also cause bactiera for your body and also abcess and pain and swelling. Some people have deeper fissures /cracks/ in their teeth and just get cavities and some people never do. Most people have had a cavity. There are are sealant that can be put on decay free teeth to prevent decay from forming.most people have cavites and dont know it until the teeth hurt or is abcessed. Sometimes very young children or uncooperative will need to be hospitalized. /At the hosptial with the Dentist doing proceedures when that is the only option to care for the teeth. using act fluoride rinse is a good treatment to help make teeth stronger. Somtimes dental work can seeming confusing and a little scary. I would suggest really being imformed about what is going on. Your Dentist should take time to really go over everything with you about Her treatment plan. Somtimes understanding everything helps to decide what you would like to do And can set your mind at ease. Dentists are there to help people to feel better not hurt. Hope this helps!

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I don't know - but I have similar questions. My daughter (5 years) has teeth problems that seem much worse. We have to do 2 sedation visits with root canals and potential extractions. I truly feel we take adequate care of her teeth and I am at a loss to know why this happened (bad genes? My dad and aunt have "soft" teeth). I also am skeptical - but to let you know, I originally took her to a pediatric dentist and they gave me the gloomy horrible report. I chalked it up to aggressive attempts to make money, but then took her to a family dentist who said the same thing about her teeth - however, he was not capable of doing the work (b/c of sedation needed) - so I tended to believe it b/c he wasn't trying to make money out of the situation. Anyway - if you feel strongly - get a second opinion.

Get a 2nd opinion from a different dentist.

I think that if its all in baby teeth, no worries, dont bother, all that money is just gonna be pulled out by the ol' string on a door knob and slamming the door shut! or falling out! Im skeptical too with doctors. Good luck!

No a real cavity cannot be reversed. However, if you are not confident in this dentist, go to another for a 2nd opinion. Have them show you the dark spot on the xray that indicates a cavity.

No way. Cavities don't just fill themselves. They could get clogged with food and become less visible to the naked eye, but if she had another x-ray, I'm sure it would still be there. Of course, if the dentist was a quack and told you there was one there when there really isn't, that's a different story. But if there truly was a cavity there confirmed by x-ray, it's still there. You probably just can't see it as well with your own eyes right now for some reason or another. Definitely have it taken care of, and if you think it may not really be one, take her to a different dentist (easier said than done, I know.) Good luck though.

Small cavities can re-mineralize themselves if caught early and treated with fluoride, however, if they are big enough to see on an x-ray, they need fillings.

I'm pretty sure they won't "go away" on their own, but it is possible that the dentist made a mistake. You might want to take her in early before the appointment and have the dentist point them out in her mouth and show you the x-rays. Or even ask to have the x-rays taken again in case they got mixed up with another child.

Oh, and maybe you just brushed away the brown decay, but it doesn't mean it's gone.

Nope, cavities don't just go away. Sorry. I have horrible teeth-- no matter how well I take care of them I am consistently getting more cavities. And, most of the time, I have no pain or brown spots associated with them. It is best to take care of them sooner than later or they may get larger and you'll end up with something worse than a filling, like a root canal or pulled teeth. Sorry! I feel your kids pain...

My understanding is that you don't have to have a black/brown spot to have decay. Softening of the enamel can be enough to be treated, because it is the 1st stages of a cavity and is easier to treat when small vs. large.

Hi L.,

If they really aren't cavities, you might consider getting a sealant, put on her molars. It's a protective coating that helps to prevent cavities. The procedure is generally covered by insurance for children under 12, but I am not sure if it includes baby teeth. Good luck with those chompers.

They don't go away and not treating them can cause permenant damage to her permenant teeth coming in. My daughter had 7!! All between her baby teeth because her teeth were so close together, I freaked as the one check up they were fine and six mos later they were there?? But turns out I looked at the xray, saw the white stains which is the first part of decay and where they were located there was nothing else to do but seal them. They did not fill them but seal them since they were baby teeth. It won't go away.......

i don't think that's possible but i do believe that God can heal us. I would go in, have the doctor show you and make sure, ask whatever questions you have, and do what's best for your daughter.

A cavity is just that- a cavity, which is a HOLE.
They don't do away- they just get worse and eventually rot out the whole tooth.

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