Human teeth are something most of us don’t even pay attention to when we’re young. And then we take them for granted as we age, resulting in really regretting not taking better care of them when we’re in the chair at a dental office having a cavity filled or a root canal performed. These procedures can be costly and even quite painful, if they’re complex. They’re not anything people want to go through. Even still, millions go through these procedures every year, mostly due to cavities. Cavities are, generally speaking, results of not caring for one’s teeth well enough.

While you should always see an Airdrie Family Dentist regularly for a checkup to ensure that there aren’t any big problems, the good news here is that you can avoid visiting the dental office that often if only you understand the ins and outs of cavities. Let’s speak a little bit about how long cavities take to form, as well as what cavities are and how they form. The more information you have, the better you can protect your teeth.


Understanding a Cavity

How Cavities are Caused

The first step in understanding a cavity and how long it takes to form is understanding what a cavity is. Your teeth are more like the scales of fish than bone, and so they have layers. The outermost layer, which is white and strong and does resemble bone, is called the enamel. Over time, this enamel can sort of erode away, particularly when it’s being “eaten” through, so to speak, thanks to things like sugar and acidic items. This is what’s going to ultimately cause a cavity.

An important note here: Even for people who do regularly care for their teeth, a cavity can still form due to a variety of causes that result in enamel eroding, and you’ll have to see a dentist. If the tooth gets a tiny crack, for instance, it can affect the enamel. Once the enamel is gone, the cavity is formed, and it just continues to grow larger until dealt with, which could bring about a lot of pain if you end up with an exposed nerve. That’s not a comfortable experience.

Dentist teaching little girl how to brush teeth

A Progression of Erosion

In terms of how long a cavity takes to form, understand that they don’t happen overnight. They take quite a while. Even if you have one of your back molars broken, and you decide not to get it fixed because it’s out of the way, it won’t form a cavity right away. Even though your inner layers are exposed because the enamel is gone in a certain spot, it’s still going to take a while to form.

Some estimates place the formation of a cavity at anywhere from three months up until a year or more. You have to understand that it’s a progressive problem. Most cavities only start as microscopic breaks in the enamel, and they grow larger and larger with time, which gives you that gaping hole in your tooth, which needs to be filled.


Time Increases/Decreased with Myriad Factors

There are also a lot of other factors to consider. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you have a hole in your enamel. Now, this is inevitably going to turn into a cavity. There’s just no way around it. However, when exactly that happens is going to depend entirely on different things. Proper dental hygiene, for instance, is going to help stave off that cavity for longer. You’ll be keeping your teeth clean, and this is going to help the erosion stop inside of the tooth, as well as helping you to keep more surrounding enamel.

Though something that could increase the speed at which a cavity forms is a poor diet, especially a diet high in sugar. This is why children deal with so many cavities and why it’s a good idea to keep them moderated well when it comes to their sugar intake.

All told, cavities are very common and a very easy problem to fix as a dental procedure. Just make sure you find the right dental practitioner for you, if ever you’re dealing with cavities.