What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated

What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated?

Team Endodontics - Root Canal

Leaving a cavity untreated can lead to severe health complications. Not only your oral health but also your overall wellness could suffer from untreated tooth decay.

Consequences of Leaving Teeth Untreated

Worsening Cavities

As cavities persist, they grow larger and deeper. A cavity that needs only a small composite filling may later need a larger metal filling.

Impaired Chewing

You may experience discomfort when chewing or biting down on the affected tooth, keeping you away from some of your favorite foods.

Tooth Sensitivity

Your teeth may be sensitive to heat, cold, and sweets.


Discomfort can progress to pain, making it hard to eat and rest. If your tooth reaches this point without dental attention, call a dentist as soon as possible to save it from extraction.

Need for Crowns

A tooth that sustains too much decay may need a crown rather than a filling. Crowns are caps that fit over prepared natural teeth. They cost significantly more than a simple filling.

Root Canals

Deep decay may break into the tooth's pulp chamber, causing an infection or the death of the nerve pulp. Patients experience severe pain and must have a root canal or an extraction. A root canal preserves the tooth's natural root system, and dentists prefer it over an extraction if possible. Root canals are also quite costly.

Dental Abscesses

If you let a toothache go too long, you could present with an infection in your jawbone called a dental abscess. An abscess, characterized by facial and jaw swelling, needs immediate attention, or you could face serious illness. The infection can spread to your body.

Need for Extraction

If your dentist can't save the tooth, it must come out. Otherwise, it may fall out in pieces, leading to problems chewing and with your appearance.

Costly Restorations

After an extraction, the best options for replacing the tooth are a bridge or implant. Bridges do not last as long as implants and do not replace the root structure, but they are a viable option for many patients. Dental implants are considered the gold standard.

Protecting Your Future Oral Health

As you learn what can happen if you ignore tooth decay, you may be more inclined to seek early treatment. Putting off care leads to more complex and costly work to restore the tooth and protect your health.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Decay

If my tooth turns gray or black, what should I do?

If your tooth has become discolored, the pulp inside will likely die. A root canal may be the only way to preserve it. Call your dentist for immediate attention.

How can I prevent cavities?

Using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash is an excellent place to start. Floss at least once daily to keep the areas between your teeth from developing cavities. Ensure that you keep all dental cleaning appointments and promptly treat tooth decay and gum disease.

Call Bisson Dentistry

Your dentist cares about your best interests and will help you get the care you need to reverse the effects of tooth decay.

Please call our Guelph, ON, office at 519-821-3561 to schedule your appointment today.