Why do I have to fix my cavity if it doesn’t hurt?

The doctors at MG Dentistry, Dr. Maria Gracias & Dr. Jason McDonald, are asked a wide array of questions from their patients. By and large, one of the most common questions: “Why do I need to fix my cavity if the tooth doesn’t hurt?” In order to answer this question, we need to focus on the anatomy of the tooth.

Each tooth has three distinct parts or “layers”. The outermost, whitest layer of the tooth is the enamel. The enamel is actually the hardest part in the entire human body, and contains the highest percentage of minerals. The layer under the enamel, the “yellow layer” is called the dentin. The dentinal layer of the tooth carries a large amount of nerve sensitivity. Lastly, directly underneath the dentin is the pulp chamber of the nerve.


When it comes to tooth decay, once the decay enters the tooth at the enamel layer, it will typically spread quickly and pass through the three layers of the teeth.

The dentists at MG Dentistry in Chicago, Illinois will recommend treating the tooth decay once the doctors have noticed the decay is present and spreading throughout the tooth. Since the enamel is the outermost strongest, thickest layer of the tooth, many patients do not normally report any pain when the cavity is in the early phase of tooth decay. In fact, once the patient starts to have hot or cold sensitivity and/or pain, this is an indicator that the decay has spread much deeper.

In order to restore decayed teeth, it is crucial to remove the least amount of tooth structure as possible. The less tooth structure the doctors have to remove, the less likely the tooth will require more invasive restorative procedures in the future. Therefore, once a patient has been notified that there is active decay in their mouth, Dr. Gracias & Dr. McDonald recommend that the patient receive treatment ASAP. Another big reason to treat the decay as soon as possible is because the decay will continue to grow & spread throughout the tooth. The deeper the cavity spreads, the more extensive the treatment needed.

The most conservative of tooth restorations is a tooth colored fillings, a white composite filling. However, once the tooth decay spreads and requires more removal of tooth structure, this is when the treatment leads into other procedures like porcelain inlays, porcelain onlays, porcelain crowns, root canals, or extraction if the tooth has been deemed non-restorable.

The doctors at MG Dentistry always strive to make sure that each appointment for any procedure, tooth cavities, white composite fillings, mercury-free fillings, porcelain crowns, inlays, and onlays are as comfortable as possible. Simply put, our doctors look to provide  exceptional dental appointments.

Should you have any questions or concerns about your tooth cavity, please feel free to call the office at 312-236-3633 and we will be more than happy to discuss your various treatment options.

Dr. Gracias & Dr. McDonald treat patients with cavities from all over the Chicagoland area in the heart of the loop.