Managing "Incipient" Cavities


For many years, the first sign of a cavity meant drilling and filling. Today, simple non-invasive treatments and strategies may be the best way to manage areas of early decay, preventing small problems from becoming bigger.

What Is an Incipient Lesion? Repeated exposure to bacterial acids in your mouth eventually causes tooth enamel to demineralize, and these areas of early decay are called incipient cavities. Incipient caries can either progress into the soft dentin portion of the tooth or become inactive through remineralization (see illustration above.)

Management of Incipient Caries *Amorphous Calcium Phosphate. ACP, such as MI Paste, and *Hydroxyapatite, such as Risewell Toothpaste, when applied to tooth enamel, stimulates enamel re- calcification. *Cheese. This dairy snack may seem like an unlikely remedy, but the University of Rochester Medical Center says that the calcium and phosphorous found in cheese, milk, yogurt and other dairy products aid remineralization, especially if eaten alone or at the end of a meal. *Saliva. Saliva washes away food and decay-causing bacteria from your teeth. As a bonus, it contains elements of calcium and phosphorus that repair enamel. If you want to keep the saliva flowing, chew sugarless gum or lozenges throughout the day. *Cervitec-Plus, chlorohexidine (anti-bacterial) in a thymol varnish, painted on susceptible areas by our hygienist when you get your teeth cleaned.

What You Can Do First off, great oral hygiene habits are a must: brush twice daily with a remineralizing toothpaste, floss once per day and swish with an antimicrobial mouthwash such as Spry with xylitol Another tip is to limit between-meal snacks and avoid sugary foods and drinks. The sugars and carbohydrates from foods and beverages kick off acid attacks that are harmful to your teeth. Limit frequency and length of time of sugar exposure. Sipping a sugary drink over a couple hours is worse than all at once. Rinse with water afterwards to minimize acid production.