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Cavities Have Class

Common sense dictates that if you neglect your smile by brushing less and eating more sugar, a mouthful of cavities may be coming your way. This Irvine dentist has warned of the perils of a bad oral hygiene routine, but perhaps I have not made clear what you can exactly expect.

Cavities develop when the bad bacteria that lives in your mouth indulges on the leftover sugars and starches that your lunch or dinner may have left behind. As these bacteria digest, acid is produced. This acid in combination with saliva, food particles and the bacteria itself form something called plaque—which eventually wears away at the enamel of the tooth. This process ends in a cavity, which your Irvine dentist will classify.

Cavities develop in several different locations—from the pits and grooves of your teeth to the smoothest of surfaces. What is more common in cavity formation is in the deep grooves of your teeth. This is because food and bacteria can easily be stuck there, and it is harder for these areas to be cleaned properly.

Classification is based on a system that was created back in 1908 by an American dentist named G.V. Black. His system defines five classes of cavities, with a sixth class being added later.

Class I cavities occur in the cracks of your teeth (pits and fissures).

Class II cavities are on the chewing surfaces or, including premolars and molars in the back of the mouth.

Class III can be on the sides of the incisors or the canine teeth which are located in the front of the mouth.

Class IV is similar to III, but it involves an angle where the middle and far side of the teeth connect. This is called the incisal angle.

Class V cavities develop on the surfaces of the teeth, which are closest to the face or tongue. They don’t involve formation on cracks (pits or grooves).

Class VI cavities occur on the edges of the front teeth or even on the back teeth that touch the jaw.

As we mentioned previously, smooth surface cavities aren't as common, but they may be more serious than cavities that occur in the grooves of your teeth because they cover a wider area of your tooth. Typically, the more of your tooth that is involved, the more damage the cavity will do.

It is via this classification system that your dentist will treat you. It helps assess how much damage has taken place and what materials can be used for the best replacement. For more information on cavity classification contact your local Irvine dentist today (949) 857-1270!