Smiling child sitting in a dentist chair preparing for a visit A cavity between teeth, also known as an interproximal or interdental cavity, can occur in children. And as they advance, your little one may experience discomfort and even have difficulty eating or drinking, among other issues. Fortunately, with routine dental care and proper oral hygiene at home, you can prevent them from occurring. But where do you even begin? Let the pros at Hamilton County Pediatric Dentistry explain!


Cavities between teeth typically develop because of inadequate oral hygiene practices. When plaque and food particles accumulate between your child's teeth, they create an environment for bacteria to thrive. Then, these bacteria produce acids that gradually erode the tooth enamel, leading to cavities. Neglecting flossing can contribute to the development of cavities. While having your child brush their teeth twice daily is crucial for maintaining oral hygiene, it can’t completely clean the tight spaces between the teeth and along the gumline, which is where flossing comes into play.


Your child’s specific treatment options may vary depending on the severity and location of the cavity. Dental fillings are the most common treatment for cavities in children. After numbing the area, our dentist removes the decayed portion. We'll fill the space with a composite resin, amalgam, or porcelain material. The filling material choice depends on the cavity's size and location. It also varies based on whether the cavity is in a baby tooth or a secondary one. Dental crowns, on the other hand, are used when a cavity is extensive and has severely weakened the tooth structure. Our dentist removes the severely decayed portion and places a custom-made crown over the entire tooth to restore its shape, strength, and function. If the cavity has reached the inner pulp of the tooth, causing infection or severe pain, a root canal treatment may be necessary. This procedure involves removing the infected pulp, cleaning the root canal, and sealing it with the filling material, Gutta-percha. Afterward, our dentist may place a dental crown to protect and strengthen the tooth. In cases where a cavity has extensively damaged the tooth and can't be effectively restored, tooth extraction may be the only option. Following the extraction, the dentist may recommend a tooth replacement, such as a dental implant, bridge, or dentures, if it's a permanent tooth.


So, how long can you leave a cavity untreated? The length of time you can leave a cavity untreated without your child experiencing significant consequences can vary depending on various factors, including the cavity's size, location, and the child's oral hygiene practices, diet, and overall oral health. Our Carmel, IN, pediatric dentist recommends getting your child treatment for a cavity once it's detected. Because if you leave it untreated, even if it's in between the teeth, it could cause possible complications, including:
  • Infection
  • Tooth loss
  • Sensitivity
  • Pain


One way to prevent a cavity between your little one’s teeth is flossing, which helps remove plaque and debris from between the teeth and along the gumline. This prevents the buildup of harmful bacteria. Incorporating regular flossing into your child’s oral hygiene routine effectively reduces the risk of cavities between teeth and promotes overall dental health. We also recommend having your child brush twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste to help strengthen the enamel and remove as much debris as possible. Other ways to prevent these pesky cavities include:
  • Limiting sugary foods and beverages
  • Limiting acidic foods and beverages
  • Having your child use mouthwash
  • Visiting a pediatric dentist in Carmel for routine cleanings and exams
Parents and caregivers should prioritize regular dental checkups, implement effective oral hygiene practices, and encourage healthy eating habits. You can help safeguard your child’s smile against a cavity between teeth and promote a lifetime of good oral health by taking proactive measures.   Remember, early prevention and timely intervention are the keys to preventing cavities between teeth and ensuring your child's dental well-being for years to come. Mainly because a straightforward answer to 'How long can you leave a cavity untreated?' doesn't exist.     Our pediatric dentistry office is located in Carmel, IN, but we’re easily accessible to residents of Westfield, Lawrence, Fishers, Speedway, Noblesville, Indianapolis, and Zionsville.