307 Grafton St #203, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

Can a Cavity Lead to Tooth Loss?

Because cavities usually hurt, most people will treat one before it reaches a too-severe stage. If you’re especially bold and decide to just deal with the pain of tooth decay, however, then it can have the chance to cause excessive, and irreversible, damage to your tooth. While it isn’t the most common cause, an extreme cavity can lead to tooth loss, or the need for a tooth extraction, if not prevented or controlled properly.

The Usual Signs of a Cavity

The usual signs of a cavity (which describes a hole in your tooth caused by infectious bacteria) grow more obvious the further the cavity develops. For instance, the tooth will become increasingly more sensitive, eventually becoming severely painful. The tooth can also begin to change color in the affected area, and you may see the cavity if it is in a noticeable area.

From Bad to Worse

Cavities are caused by tooth decay—an infection in your tooth caused by oral bacteria—which is a progressive issue that worsens over time. At first, bacteria produce acids that erode the enamel around your teeth, causing them to become sensitive. After damaging the enamel, bacteria can bypass it and infect your tooth, eating away the structure on its destructive path towards the tooth’s center. As the home of your tooth’s nerves, the center of your tooth is the most sensitive, and extreme decay can cause extreme discomfort if the nerves are directly infected.

Worst-Case Scenario

Technically speaking, tooth decay can destroy enough of a tooth that it eventually falls out. Even if the tooth remains, though, it may need to be extracted if you wait long enough to treat the cavity. When decay reaches your tooth’s center, or pulp chamber, the bacteria can travel through the connected root canals, making the condition significantly worse. If root canal therapy won’t suffice to save the tooth, then removing it may be the only way to protect the rest of your smile.


At Modern Dentistry, Todd A. Pizzi, DDS, and Luciana Messina, DDS, are dedicated to providing high-quality cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dentistry services to patients and families in Shrewsbury, Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Boylston, Hopkinton, Millbury, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next appointment, contact our office by calling (508) 842-6356 today.