gumline model

How to Properly Treat a Cavity at the Gum Line

Since plaque, tartar, and sticky foods can build up at the base of your teeth, it makes your teeth susceptible to decay along the gum line. When a gum line cavity starts to develop, it can cause pain in varying degrees.

A gum line cavity can also appear at an unsightly dark spot toward the root of your tooth.

What is a Gum Line Cavity?

A cavity at the gum line is a breakdown in the enamel of your teeth, which leads to exposed dentin or a dental cavity. Gum line cavities can also be a sign of gum recession, which will leave the roots of your teeth exposed.

Symptoms and signs of a gum line cavity include:

  • Discoloration or dark spots near the teeth around your gum line
  • Notches on teeth along the gum line
  • Sensitivity to cold and/or hot beverages
  • General toothache
  • Pain when chewing or sensitivity on one side of your mouth while chewing

If you experience any of these symptoms, we encourage you to contact your dentist to make sure the issue does not worsen. Cavities along the gum line can lead to root damage, requiring root canal surgery or other dental procedures.

Causes of Tooth Decay near Gums?

As we mentioned, tooth decay near the gums can be caused by tartar and plaque that builds up. But what’s the difference between them?

Tooth plaque is formed when the combination of saliva, food, and liquids creates bacteria.

While regular brushing and flossing can help deter bacteria from forming in your mouth, they don’t remove all the millions of bacteria. Therefore, a regular professional dental cleaning is ideal since it can decrease the number of bacteria.

Everyone’s mouth creates bacteria! Bacteria can be acidic and corrosive to the enamel on your teeth.

Tartar is a buildup of plaque. Up close, it’s yellow or pale brown and not easily removed without the help of a dental health professional. Tartar is also referred to as dental calculus.

When the acidic tartar sits at the gum line, it can create a cavity or tooth decay at the gums.

Gum Line Cavities and Baby Boomers

Tooth decay or root decay near the gum line is associated with gum recession. As we age, our gums recede. Proper brushing and regular dental health care can slow down gum recession, but it won’t keep it from happening.

Many people over age 50 are susceptible to gum line cavities due to receding gums.  When our gums recede, they expose our teeth to decay.

A gum line cavity can happen at any age, however. Anytime plaque and tartar can thrive at the bottom of a tooth, there’s a chance for a gum line cavity to occur.

Gum Line Cavity and Bad Breath

A gum line cavity, or any tooth cavity, can be a cause of bad breath. More often, though, bad breath is caused by more serious and pervasive periodontal disease. If your gums are inflamed or infected, they can emit unpleasant odors.

Schedule a checkup with your dentist immediately if you notice you’ve developed unpleasant breath. Your dentist can determine if you have gum disease or other oral health issues and help ward off further complications and help alleviate your bad breath.

Stop Gum Line Tooth Pain

People have asked us if they can treat their cavity with home remedies. While there are some home remedies for pre-cavity stages, you cannot treat a cavity with home remedies. A dentist needs to treat your tooth once the dentin of your tooth is penetrated so that no further decay occurs.

However, you can lessen the pain of a gum line cavity. First, call our office to make an appointment to ensure the pain does not worsen due to continued damage to your tooth’s dentin. While you wait to be seen by our staff, lessen the pain of a gum line cavity by doing the following:

  • Avoid cold and hot beverages
  • Avoid sweet, sugary foods
  • Avoid acidic foods

Your eating habits can greatly impact your dental health.

What Can be Done for Gum Line Tooth Decay?

The first thing we do for gum line tooth decay is to remove the decay and try to prevent further damage. Our dental care professionals will keep your comfort top of mind and prepare you for prompt treatment for a composite filling. As a holistic dental office, we emphasize testing for biocompatibility before placing a composite material in a patient’s mouth. We work with a variety of materials and will find the one that best suits you.

Learn more about Susquehanna Dental Arts holistic cavity treatment procedures, as well as estimated costs and payment options here.