Pit and Fissure Cavity: Causes and Treatment

pit and fissure cavity

There are three kinds of cavities, all that affect your teeth differently. One of these is the pit and fissure cavity.

This occurs as black lines on your molars.

If you experience pain and sensitivity at the back of your mouth then you probably have these cavities.

This article discusses how you can identify these cavities and prevent tooth decay.

Keep reading to know more!


Types of Cavities

Smooth Surface Cavities

These cavities occur on the teeth at the side of the mouth and at the flat exterior surface.

Have you seen people with cavities on the flat exterior teeth? Probably not because they are the rarest of all cavities.

That said, people who do not follow good oral hygiene can suffer from it.

These cavities develop the slowest.

However, that is an advantage because it is easy to treat them.

You can simply treat them by the addition of fluoride treatments in your routine.

These include:

In this type of cavity, it takes quite a long time for the decay to reach the smooth surface of the enamel.

But once it does, you will need a tooth filling to completely treat it.

Another way to get these cavities on the exterior surfaces is between the interproximal spaces.

These interproximal cavities can occur in between two teeth.

Your dentist can discover them using an X-ray or simply examining your mouth.

However, they will only prescribe fluoride treatment if the decay has not reached your dentin.

If it did, then it is time for fillings.

Root Cavities 

This type of cavities is more common in older adults and senior citizens.

People who suffer from gum disease, receding gums or other gum disorders are more susceptible to getting decay on tooth roots’ surface.

However, if anyone suffers from receding gums then they are at greater risk of this cavity.

The tissue is present lower on the tooth when your gums recede.

This exposes the root surfaces hence, the rots are endangered.

The acids, bacteria and food particles can easily harm that area because of the exposure leading to cavities in the root.

If you timely detect a root cavity then your doctor will simply clean it and apply a metal filling.

However, if it is too late and the cavity has already spread to the pulp, then a root canal treatment is your only option remaining.

The decay spreads faster because there is no enamel to protect your teeth anyway.

Your root cavities need timely treatment otherwise it spreads fastly needing a crown especially if the cavity is large enough.

The third kit is the pit and fissure cavity.

Let’s learn about them in detail below!

pit and fissure cavity in molar

What is a Pit and Fissure Cavity?

These are found in the chewing surfaces at your rear molars.

Thus, they result in pain at the back of your mouth.

Pit and fissures are essentially the ridges and grooves that make the chewing surfaces of the molars.

It is very easy for food and debris to get stuck in the crevices too.

Moreover, bacteria and plaque settle in the grooves.

Therefore, this is a very common cavity.

You are likely to get it if you do not brush your teeth properly or skip doing it regularly.

While the pits are present in both premolars and molars, you are more likely to get the cavity in the molars.

It is usually difficult to brush the molars properly, therefore the plaque that gets stuck in the pits remains there.

Food also settle into the grooves, hence the mixture of the two decays your teeth.

The plaque metabolizes the food particles forming acids.

These acids erode your enamel and make their way to the dentin causing the cavity.

If you detect them early then you can simply treat them using fluoride.

Sealants can help to seal that area for children as well as for older adults who are at greater risk of developing cavities.

Usually, children and senior citizens have a weaker enamel that is why their teeth are more susceptible to decay.

If the decay is not deep enough then you can make do with fluoride treatments.

However, if it is then your options are removing the cavity and filling the tooth.

If the size of the cavity is large then you will need a root canal treatment.

The tooth structure will also be weak by then so you may require a crown after the treatment.

You may wonder why do you get these cavities anyway? More on that below!

tooth decay causes

Reason Behind Tooth Decay

The food you eat and your oral hygiene are important denominators for causing tooth decay.

If you consume acidic foods, have a high daily sugar intake and like to drink acidic sodas then you are putting your teeth at risk of decay.

Bacteria break down sugars into acids.

These acids start eroding the enamel.

While enamel is one the strongest material in your body, constant exposure to acids can weaken it.

Once the decay reaches the dentin, it can cause cavities appearing as black lines or holes on your teeth.

Acidic foods and drinks such as citrus fruits, sodas and coffee are generally bad due to their acidic nature.

Plus if they get stuck in the crevices and grooves of teeth then that is worse as bacteria have plenty of time to metabolize them.

This is where your oral hygiene comes in play.

If you brush twice a day, floss once, remember to also use a tongue cleaner and then a mouthwash then you will not accumulate bacteria.

However, if you miss out on brushing twice, do not clean teeth for full 2 minutes and skip brushing the molars properly then you are quite likely to get pit and fissure cavity.

Letting the food particles sit on your teeth throughout the nighttime will damage your oral health.

Thus, the food you eat and drink as well as your oral hygiene are important factors behind causing cavities.

Receding gums and other gum problems also contribute to it.

Though usually, food and dental hygiene are all you need to take care of.

If you still get a tooth cavity, go to your dentist for treatment and find out its root cause.

pit and fissure cavity treatment

Treating Pit and Fissure Cavity

Using Sealants 

Dental sealants aid in preventing cavities.

These go right onto your chewing surfaces reducing the chances of accumulating bacteria.

This thin plastic coating is painted on the molars to either completely prevent or slow down the already existing decay.

People who are most vulnerable to cavities because of weak enamel are young children and senior citizens.

The sealants cover your molars by bonding in the grooves and depressions.

It acts as a protective shield ensuring that you do not get any cavities.

When children are bottle fed and growing their first molars, dentists may paint the sealants so that they do not get decay.

Fluoride Treatment 

If there are signs of decay, then your doctor will recommend you to combat it with fluoride treatments.

They can give you fluoride supplements, prescribe a fluoride toothpaste and suggest you take fluoridated water.

Fluoride can strengthen and remineralize your enamel.

Therefore, if there are signs of the enamel wearing down then your dentist will recommend them.

Sometimes it may reverse minor decay.


Tooth Fillings and Composites

If there is a cavity then first your dentist will remove it and then fill the area.

The filling covers the hole from the cavity.

It helps to seal it so that the tooth is back to its proper function.

If the decay is small then fillings are enough.

You can get them in metal (gold or sliver), white, amalgam, composite resin and porcelain material.

Root Canal and Crown 

Large cavities reaching the tooth pulp can cause an infection.

A root canal treatment becomes necessary to remove the bacteria from the root canal.

It also reduces your chances of reinfection, protecting the tooth.

However, you may need a crown if the decay is severe.

It can restore the size of the tooth.

child with sealant

Preventing Pit and Fissure Cavity

  • Brushing properly
  • Maintaining Oral Hygiene
  • Using dental sealants
  • Eating and drinking wisely

Brushing your teeth properly is crucial to protecting you from any oral health problems.

It is easier to skip the chewing surfaces because they are hard to reach.

However, that is where the pit and fissure cavity occurs.

Therefore, you need to be mindful of the chewing surfaces while brushing for a whole 2 minutes.

If your teeth are especially vulnerable to decay then you should use a fluoride toothpaste.

Moreover, maintain an overall good oral hygiene.

Besides brushing also floss properly once a day.

You should also scrape your tongue and use mouthwash occasionally so that no bacteria are remaining in your mouth.

Your dentist may apply a sealant to your child’s teeth or an elderly person’s because they are more at risk of getting this cavity.

Children get it when their permanent teeth start to erupt and as soon as their molars do.

This will prevent decay and also stop it in its tracks if it has already started.

The most important thing is to eat mindfully.

Reduce your daily sugar intake and do not consume acidic foods that are harmful to your oral health.

Even if you do, then make sure you maintain good oral hygiene.

This will prevent you from getting not only a pit and fissure cavity but also root and smooth surface cavities.






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