Brown spots in molar (cavity question, pics included)

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thisisme

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Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
338
I just noticed brown spots in the crevices of a molar and it seems like food sticks inside of the tooth more. I’m a bit paranoid because I just started Invisalign in August and am worried it wouldn’t fit anymore if he had to fill a cavity. I had a checkup in June, Xrays at the ortho in July, so I don’t think it could be too bad. I have been religious with cleaning my mouth and teeth since starting, but I do understand not having saliva protecting your teeth could cause more issues. I know a physical examination is always best but can anyone tell based on the photos if it looks like a cavity starting to form? There’s no pain and I have a visit planned in December (dreading it) but I would appreciate any thoughts until then. Thank you!
 

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Niall Neeson

Niall Neeson

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
169
Hi thisisme,

Staining of the crevices of the teeth is very, very common. This is just down to the anatomy of the teeth as it’s incredibly tricky, if not impossible to fully clean these areas.

You’re right to flag it and to mention it to your dentist but to me, at this stage, things look absolutely fine. It’s possible for us to monitor staining in these crevices (that we call fissures) for years and years without the need to place a filling and it may never need a filling.

The important thing is the focus on prevention (as you are doing) as these areas do have the potential to progress to a cavity. Brushing and cleaning between the teeth is indeed very helpful, particularly during orthodontic treatment. The real fuel for decay is sugar though and this is the other thing to focus on. It’s usually any sugar taken in between meals that does the damage- it’s down to the number of times a day the teeth are attacked rather than the amount of sugar. So do your best to clump things together to mealtimes and be fussier in between meals. Best to avoid ‘grazing’ or snacking throughout the day and, between meals, keep drinks to (still) water or tea/ coffee without sugar.

So certainly keep up with your regular checks but it’s good for you to know that your dentist will be monitoring these areas both by appearance and on x-rays - so the fact you’ve had recent checks is re-assuring.

All the best,
Niall
 
T

thisisme

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
338
Hi thisisme,

Staining of the crevices of the teeth is very, very common. This is just down to the anatomy of the teeth as it’s incredibly tricky, if not impossible to fully clean these areas.

You’re right to flag it and to mention it to your dentist but to me, at this stage, things look absolutely fine. It’s possible for us to monitor staining in these crevices (that we call fissures) for years and years without the need to place a filling and it may never need a filling.

The important thing is the focus on prevention (as you are doing) as these areas do have the potential to progress to a cavity. Brushing and cleaning between the teeth is indeed very helpful, particularly during orthodontic treatment. The real fuel for decay is sugar though and this is the other thing to focus on. It’s usually any sugar taken in between meals that does the damage- it’s down to the number of times a day the teeth are attacked rather than the amount of sugar. So do your best to clump things together to mealtimes and be fussier in between meals. Best to avoid ‘grazing’ or snacking throughout the day and, between meals, keep drinks to (still) water or tea/ coffee without sugar.

So certainly keep up with your regular checks but it’s good for you to know that your dentist will be monitoring these areas both by appearance and on x-rays - so the fact you’ve had recent checks is re-assuring.

All the best,
Niall

Thank you so much, Niall! This makes me feel so much better. The three other back molars on the bottom have a white filling, so it’s hard to compare a tooth that has no filling with those. I avoided the dentist for 16 years and never looked in my mouth... like I wouldn’t even see if I had food stuck in my teeth. Now that I’m cleaning my mouth (a lot!) and studying it daily, I’ve really been analyzing the details. My dentist didn’t do xrays in June but my ortho did in July. I’ll have xrays at my next cleaning, so that worries me a bit, but my ortho seems really skilled and probably would not have proceeded if I had noticeable decay. Hopefully. 🤞🏻

Lucky for me, snacking with Invisalign means rinsing with water, brushing, and flossing, so I’ve been sticking to main meals. Appreciate your advice and wisdom!
 
Niall Neeson

Niall Neeson

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
169
You’re very welcome. All the best with it all!
 
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