Dentist Questions Cavities

Can cavities in one tooth affect other teeth as well?

I had a cavity in my molar tooth, and got it filled. Now I am having sensitivity and pain in my teeth around the tooth. Could the cavity have spread from that tooth to others around it? Is that possible? Or could it just be sensitive from the filling?

23 Answers

The short answer is both. Cavities are very contagious and spread to adjacent teeth and even to another person’s mouth. As well, if the filled tooth is sensitive, it could refer to adjacent teeth. It should be professionally evaluated. Good luck.
Dr. Cyril Tahtadjian
A cavity does not spread. Each tooth would have its own cavity. An x-ray should be taken to see if there are any other teeth that might have a cavity. Sensitivity after a filling is normal, and often goes away on its own after a couple of days. If you notice the sensitivity is still there after a week, you should contact a General Dentist.
This can occur. This usually happens to lesions that are present in the surfaces between the teeth and are known as kissing lesions. If one tooth was filled, the treating dentist usually evaluates and treats the adjacent tooth at that time of required. Sensitivity following a filling is not an uncommon thing. And due to minor changes in the bite and pressure from contact between the teeth this can lead to the sensitive sensation that you are asking about.
The bacteria in the mouth that release an acid which eats through the enamel to cause a cavity can spread and affect other teeth. This can be controlled by regular dental visits.
The micro bacteria that coalesce with the secretions of salivary glands and sugar in our diet which seems to be in everything produce acids that wash over the surfaces of all our teeth but it is the grooves that are so deep in our back teeth and between them that we are most prone to neglect when we brush and they are the most important surface areas to avoid larger areas of decay. Usually if there's a significant lesion on one side of the mouth there's one on the same tooth on the other side has very few people just chew on one side.
It could be from the filling. Ask your dentist.
Assuming you don't have cavities in your other teeth, the sensitivity is most likely from the filling. Depending on the depth of the filling, and the desensitizes used, improvement should be fairly quick - 3 to 5 days. If it persists longer than that you should have it checked.
When you have a filling done, it might be sensitive for a while and then settle down. Cavities don’t spread from one tooth to another. If proper oral hygiene is not followed, then cavities will develop.
Not likely
Cavities can “spread“ to an adjacent tooth but the dentist would have most likely seen and fixed that at the time that he treated your mother. Most likely, the sensitivity is coming from the new feeling which is typical. This will usually last a few weeks and get better.
Cavities themselves are not contagious and do not spread from one tooth to another. However, whatever the cause of the original cavity can cause another cavity in another tooth. The cause is usually the bacteria associated with plaque and acid.
Oth senarios are possible. Number one, right after fillings, it seems s very normal to have some temperature or biting sensitivity which should resolve in few weeks. Second, there is always a chance of bacteria affecting the adjacent tooth. I would highly recommend that you see your dentist and ask them to take an X-ray to be in the safe side.
Oftentimes, when there is a cavity between teeth, it is not uncommon for both teeth to be affected. Your dentist can usually see this on the x-ray or directly in the mouth when performing the filling on one tooth. However, sensitivity after a filling is also not unusual. If the sensitivity persists or worsens over the the next week or two, call your dentist to have the tooth checked and maybe the bite adjusted.
Have the dentist who placed the filling check that first. Decay is a bacterial, infectious process.
Not likely. If the cavity was there for a long time untreated, then yes, it can affect the adjacent tooth. If there was no cavity when the other cavity was filled, then you are just feeling it from the filling. I would have a dentist double check!
In my opinion, decay is not transferable from one tooth to another tooth, but if the decay is between two teeth, it can eventually cause decay or cavity on the next tooth. A cavity happens with the accumulation of bacteria in the area of tooth due to lack of cleaning properly and it does not happen locally and is usually generalized until and unless a specific area is neglected due to some pain. It is very important to get the professional cleanings done every six months and this way we can detect cavities in initial stages and save time, effort, and money to fix the big cavities. Thanks.
Cavities do not spread or “jump” from one tooth to the next. You are likely experiencing some localized discomfort from the new filling. If it does not improve within a few weeks after the filling was placed, you should have your dentist look at it.

Keep smiling,

David M. Kaffey, DDS
If you were told you do not have decay in any other teeth around the tooth you had filled, then more than likely the sensitive is from the filling. If the sensitivity doesn't go away, you need to see your dentist.
Cavities can form between the teeth, but the X-ray would show that there were cavities in multiple teeth, but since you had a one cavity filled, then probably was only the one that had to be done at that time. Most likely, the sensitivity is coming from the filling you had done. Have your doctor evaluate it again.
It could be post-op sensitivity, but if the cavity was in between your teeth and it has been there for awhile, then it absolutely could affect the adjacent tooth.
Both could be possible. Diagnosis cannot be made over the internet.
1. Sensitivity can be caused by clenching or grinding or be caused by exposed detninal tubules or be caused by gingival recession.
2. Poor oral hygiene is what causes tooth decay. Extensive decay will cause tooth sensitivity.
3. A good oral exam should pinpoint the cause of your tooth sensitivity.
Cavities can spread from one tooth to another adjacent to the cavitated tooth. Newly filled teeth can become sensitive lasting a week. Any constant sensitivity that worsens after 10 days should be re-evaluated by your dentist for possible high bite or any gaps with the newly filled tooth, or in cases of deep filling having the nerve of the tooth effected. Now changes in your bite can also cause sensitivity with surrounding teeth especially if you have an overall heavy bite, clench or brux. Regards