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How long does it take for a cavity to form?

I went to my regular dentist on December 2006 for a cleaning and he didn’t find any cavities at that time. Then, I got braces on January. I moved to another state and it was time for my 6 months check-up and cleaning again. So I went to do it a couples of days ago and the doctor told me that I have 6 teeth that have cavities. But when the hygine doctor was doing the cleaning, she told me that I was taking good care of my teeth. So I don’t understand if I am brushing my teeth 3 times a day, avoiding candy and soda; why I ended up having cavities? And the weird thing is that the doctor didn’t show me my x-rays or the teeth that have cavities. The only thing he told me was, “we need to take care of those cavities right away!” So now I am divating on going for a second opinion because I don’t believe this doctor. Please let me know if you have any suggestion or comments.



To answer your question it takes about 2 years for a cavity to be seen on an x-ray of the surface of a tooth that had previously looked normal.
Now, that being said I would DEMAND to be shown your cavities, either with a mirror, an intraoral camera photo and the x-rays. It is your teeth and your right to know that cavities exist. Dentistry is both an art and a science. What one dentist sees may not be the same as what another or what 6 other dentists might see. This does not necessarily mean he is wrong or trying to scam you. He might just have a different perspective or even a different treatment focus or philosophy. You have to know your dentist well enough to have some trust in him. If you don’t trust him or what he shows you or tells you, then by all means you should seek out a second opinion.
This dentist should take the time to go over your diagnosis and treatment plan with you. If he doesn’t have the time while you are in the chair, he should have time set aside at some point in his week to go over these things with you .for example in his office on a Saturday or after the work day. If he doesn’t have the time, maybe you should find a different dentist.
As for your hygiene care. You should be preperly brushing after any snack or meal. The number of times you brush (and you said 3) doesn’t matter.if you eat or drink 6 times in a day you should be brushing at least 6 times and not 3 for instance. You should be properly flossing your teeth. And you could use an oral rinse or mouthwash. My philosophy is anything you can do to clean your teeth is a good thing. Lastly, although it sounds like you are doing this, you should see your hygienist 1-2 times a year for a professional cleaning.
But keep in mind, if these cavities are in the groove in the top of your teeth, there is not much you can do to clean there. But if the cavities are inbetween your teeth, then yes you are not cleaning them well enough on a day to day basis.
I hope this helps somewhat.


I agree with Dave F for the most part. Brushing after each snack is a little excessive though as a cavity isn’t going to form like that. Essentially, a cavity [we call them caries] is an acid hole from bacteria that eat the debris [like sugar and starch] on your tooth and give off a low pH as a by product. Eventually, if this is allowed to continue, the acid eats a hole in your tooth. That being said, you may or may not have 6 cavities. Some dentists want to fill each little groove on the chewing surface of your teeth. I have had patients in my practice that came from clinics and were told they had a lot of cavities and there were NONE. Check in the phone book and see if your doc has an ad in the yellow pages. If so, this is a good sign that he may not have your best interests at heart. If the office is just listed there with no ad then that’s a good sign. In any case, being shown the cavities isn’t going to help as that can easily be faked if you don’t know anything about dentistry. My advice is to call another office, tell them the situation and get a second opinion. Good luck!