When a cavity begins to form in a tooth, you can usually see the early signs of damage if you examine your teeth carefully. But the hardest kind of cavities to detect are the ones that occur between molars. Dentists call these cavities interproximal cavities. Interproximal cavities are also more difficult to prevent than cavities on visible tooth surfaces.
Because your molars are in the back of your mouth, you might not spot a cavity between two molars without the help of a dentist. This is why regular dental checkups are so important.
But like regular cavities, a dentist can treat a cavity between two molars with a dental filling.
Dentists first remove the decayed material
Although reaching a cavity between two molars can be difficult, dentists do have specialized equipment to help them do so. First, your dentist will pinpoint the location of your cavity using a dental x-ray. Once they have located the cavity, they can then proceed to remove the decayed part of the affected molar.
Removing decayed material from a molar that is touching or in close proximity to another molar requires care and precision. Using a very small drill or grinder, your dentist can gently remove the decayed material from the affected tooth. And even if the two molars are touching, your dentist can still avoid damaging the unaffected molar with the use of the small drill.
Dentists fill the cavity after removing the decayed material
After your dentist has removed the decayed portion of your molar, they can then fill the cavity with a filling. The most common types of fillings are composite fillings and amalgam fillings. Although composite fillings are not as durable as amalgam fillings, some patients choose them because they are tooth-colored.
But if you prefer durability over aesthetics, then an amalgam filling is a better option. Since the cavity is between two molars, in the back of the mouth, the amalgam (metal) filling will be hard to see anyway.
You may need a root canal if the cavity is deep
Because interproximal cavities between molars are hard to detect, patients sometimes don't notice them until the cavity is deep enough to reach the pulp. If toothache accompanies your cavity, then you may need a root canal to remove the infected pulp from your tooth. Once your dentist has removed the infected material, they can then fill the tooth or place a dental crown over it.
For more information on dentistry, contact a professional near you.