A Long Island NY man with a toothache from a gumline cavity

What Is A Gumline Cavity? Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Did you know that approximately 90% of adults in the United States have reported experiencing a cavity during their lifetime, according to the CDC?

Like other cavities, a gumline cavity is caused by bacteria, and these bacteria produce acids on the surface of an individual’s teeth. Over time, these acids eat away at the teeth, causing many adverse effects, including holes and infections.

If you suspect you have a gumline cavity but are unsure, read this guide. Our group of knowledgeable dentists at Huntington Bay Dental explains what you should know, including the symptoms, causes, and treatments. 

What Is A Gumline Cavity?

As its name implies, a gumline cavity is a specific type of tooth decay that affects the area between your gums and teeth. However, many people don’t realize that a gumline cavity refers to two types of cavities: a root cavity and a smooth surface cavity. 

If your cavity affects the smooth surface by the crown of your tooth, we classify it as a smooth surface gumline cavity. In contrast, if your cavity has formed on the root of your tooth, it is a root gumline cavity. Unfortunately, the decay can extend over the root and crown in severe cases. 

What Are Gumline Cavity Symptoms?

Like with any dental condition, there are gumline cavity symptoms to be on the lookout for:

  • Temperature sensitivity: Your teeth have become sensitive to hot or cold beverages. 
  • You’re experiencing pain in your tooth: A toothache can be one of the first signs.
  • You notice stains on the surface of your tooth: Initially, they can look like white spots, but will eventually darken. 
  • You develop a sensitivity to sweets: Can cause tooth sensitivity when you eat something sweet because of enamel damage or cementum. 
  • Holes or pits: The most noticeable and common sign of a gumline cavity is if you notice pits or holes on your tooth. 

What Causes Gumline Cavities?

Usually, the biggest cause of a gumline cavity is dental plaque. 

You can easily identify plaque as a sticky layer that sits on your teeth after the bacteria in your mouth eats the sugars you’ve consumed through beverages and foods. This plaque becomes black pits that eat away at the teeth where they meet your gumline, causing cavities.

Another common cause is tartar. Tartar forms when the plaque on your teeth hardens into a yellowish layer. When your gums recede because of tartar and plaque buildup, it builds up and creates cavities. 

woman getting a dental exam for cavities

Treating Gumline Cavities

We treat gumline cavities the same way as other cavities—restorative dental procedures

Depending on the location of the cavity and its size, you might need to undergo a composite filling. This is the most common treatment option for small to medium smooth surface gumline cavities. 

If your cavity is situated beneath your gumline and on the tooth root, you may need to undergo a root canal or minor gum surgery. This is because cavities in this location are more difficult to treat.

Before a dentist recommends a treatment, they will assess your mouth and teeth to determine the severity of your gumline cavity.

How To Prevent Gumline Cavities

Luckily, there are many ways to prevent gumline cavities so that you don’t have to undergo treatment. See below to learn about a few of the simple ways you can prevent this type of cavity from developing in your mouth. 

  • Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Ensure you remember to brush your gumline. 
  • Make sure you floss every day right down to your gumline. This can help sweep away leftover debris from food that can become lodged and cause cavities. 
  • Use prescription fluoride if your dentist prescribes it, and follow their directions.
  • Ensure you visit your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings. By doing this, you and your dentist will be on top of your dental health. 
  • Try to drink more water and eat fewer sweet foods, as this can help prevent cavities in the long run. 

Speak With A Professional At Huntington Bay Dental About Your Gumline Cavity Today

Gumline cavities can be incredibly painful if left untreated. If you suspect you have a cavity or want to prevent one from forming, consider speaking with an expert dentist at Huntington Bay Dental. 

Our dentists are trained to help prevent and to treat gumline cavities and many other dental conditions. We truly pride ourselves on explaining and customizing a treatment plan that gives you the most affordable and best option. The best way to know what your options are is to contact us here to learn more.