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What Happens If a Cavity Is Left Untreated?

Everyone gets cavities. It’s what happens when bacteria penetrate your teeth and begin to carve out a little home for themselves. Especially when given too much sugar, bacteria can eat away at the tooth and cause lasting damage in your mouth.

And just like everyone gets cavities, everyone knows that cavities are bad news. But most people don’t know how serious they can be. Here are just some of the things that could happen if a cavity is left untreated:

Increased Growth

Leaving cavities alone will allow bacteria to penetrate deeper and deeper into the tooth, letting the cavity increase in size. Eventually, the cavity could grow large enough to crack the tooth. The bigger the cavity, the bigger the problems associated with it will be.

Nerve Damage

Left untreated, it’s possible for a cavity to eventually reach your nerve, which would put you in some serious pain. Once a cavity reaches a root, it will necessitate a much large procedure, such as a root canal or an extraction. Both of those procedures are much more involved than your everyday cavity filling.


If you’re really unlucky, your untreated cavity could open up your body to an infection. Your doctor would have to prescribe an antibiotic medication to treat the infection. Dental infections are very serious and can cause your jaw to swell and become incredibly painful.

Treating a small cavity is easy peasy lemon squeezy—it’s just a small dental filling to stop decay. But now we’ve seen that treating a larger cavity that’s grown in size can be much more complicated.

Remember, you’re not helpless in the face of cavities. Do what you can to decrease your chances of getting cavities, including brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing before bed, and using a good mouthwash. And don’t forget: see your dentist for a cleaning and exam every six months, so they can check to make sure your mouth is staying healthy.

If you think you have a cavity, or want to schedule your semi-annual cleaning, contact our team today to set up an appointment!