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How Does a Cavity Develop into Pulpitis?

Published on:2019-12-26

Cavities is one of the most common dental problems dentists come across every day. But how long does it take a untreated cavity to develop into pulpitis? Usually for pulpitis to develop that would mean that the cavity has reached the fourth stage of decay and this is when the pulp tissues become infected.


1. First Signs of Tooth Decay

The first signs of tooth decay begins when chalky white areas on the surface of the tooth appear due to the loss of calcium and build-up of plaque. Usually there is no pain or toothache at this stage, tooth decay can still be reversible with the proper treatment such as a filling to prevent the cavity developing further.  


2. Dentin Decay

When the cavity has reached the stage of dentin decay you will feel tooth sensitivity, slight toothache or discomfort. Your tooth will feel sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks. The dentist will need to remove the damaged part of the tooth. Depending on the tooth and how much of tooth structure is removed you may need a filling, a dental crown or an onlay/inlay to restore the tooth.


3. Pulpitis & Periapical Periodontitis

Pulpitis and periapical periodontitis develop when a cavity is left untreated and bacteria and infection has spread to the dental pulp tissues otherwise known as pulp decay . In this case a filling can no longer treat the problem and root canal treatment is required.


How long does it take for pulpitis to develop?

There is no given timeframe for a dental cavity developing into pulpitis. It varies for every person. For individuals who have poor oral hygiene then the chances of pulpitis is much more rapid. When you discover that you have a cavity you should make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.


A cavity can be easily treated with a filling during the early stages. If left to linger the cavity will require root canal treatment and not to mention it will leave you with the discomfort of a toothache.