Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Gum Line Cavity at General Dentistry Office

Your teeth have protection in the form of the enamel covering the exposed parts and the gums covering the more vulnerable cementum-covered root. However, gums may recede over time due to natural ageing and other factors such as building up plaque that leads to gingivitis and periodontal disease. This gives rise to gum line cavities, which, if left untreated, can infect the tooth, damage the pulp and ultimately lead to the removal of the tooth. Know more about the gum line cavity, what causes it, symptoms, and possible line of treatments at a general dentistry office near you.

Gum line cavity

Hard enamel-covered smooth surfaces of the teeth areas can develop cavities due to a variety of reasons. Still, the more concerning issue is the gum line cavity, which is then termed a root cavity. It will require extensive treatment at your trusted general dentistry. 

Causes of gum line cavity

Below the gum line cavity can arise due to a variety of reasons. 

Plaque build-up:  Improper and inadequate brushing leads to the build-up of plaque, a nearly transparent sticky material on the teeth. If plaque is not removed, it can form tartar, a hard material that becomes the breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria can invade teeth below the gum line and cause cavities. 

Receding gums: Due to genetic factors, age and plaque, you could see your gums recede, exposing the more vulnerable tooth root areas. The exposed areas are softer, and bacteria can easily attack, causing cavities below the gum line. Receding gums can combine with tartar to cause periodontal disease, which is even more harmful since it causes inflammation of the gums. Immune response and bacterial activity can weaken teeth, gums, tissue, and bones that support the teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss. Periodontitis has graver implications since bacteria can spread throughout the body, causing kidney and heart ailments. 

Dry mouth: Xerostomia or dry mouth can increase bacterial activity that, in turn, generates more acids that erode teeth surfaces and lead to gum line cavities. 

You can identify the problem from clear, specific symptoms. 

Symptoms of gum line cavity
  • Swish cold water around your mouth, and you will feel pain not at the tips of the teeth but around the gum line and below it. 
  • You will experience pain when you eat sweet or sour food, spicy food, or food or drinks that are too hot. 
  • A visual examination may show pits and holes in the affected tooth or teeth. 
  • Your teeth could feel loose. 
  • Bad breath
  • Tender and swollen or bleeding gums

Treatment of gum line cavities is always more complicated and expensive than cavities on the tooth’s open surfaces. 

Typical treatment of gum line cavity

Invariably, most people tend to ignore minor toothaches until the pain becomes unbearable. Unfortunately, by the time you get to the nearest general dentistry clinic and have a checkup, it will be found that the infection has reached the pulp. This will necessitate a root canal treatment. First, your dentist drills the tooth, extracts decayed tissue, sterilizes the inside, and packs it with a filler material, followed by capping it with a crown. 

Suppose the gum line cavity is minor and detected early (for which you must keep visiting your general dentistry clinic at regular intervals). In that case, it is relatively easy to take care of it. However, demineralization may occur, which is a primary stage, at which point treatment with the use of highly fluorinated toothpaste could resolve the matter. 

Advanced stages of periodontal disease may require surgical procedures. This can use lasers or surgical scalpels to cut gum tissue and extend them. If the recession is mild, then scaling and root planing techniques can keep the gum line clean. Cleaning could be followed by drilling the cavity, removing debris, and filling, depending on just how much below the cavity’s gums. Even more advanced cases may require bone and gum regeneration procedures and tissue grafts and laser treatment. 

Preventing gum line cavities

Preventive dentistry is the best way to avoid gum line cavities. You can be more meticulous about oral hygiene and brush your teeth after meals and resort to flossing. Use of plaque removing pastes are recommended. However, even the best home techniques cannot get rid of tartar, which should not be allowed to form in the first place. 

The best solution is for you to schedule a visit to your general dentistry clinic once in three months for thorough cleaning and checkup of your teeth. A checkup in time can identify any issue in the formative stage and prevent extensive, expensive procedures, not to speak of pain.

Then there are the usual steps you can take to ensure good oral hygiene, such as: 

  • Avoid the use of tobacco products.
  • Brush regularly and systematically after meals and floss
  • Keep your mouth hydrated.
  • Gargle and swish after you consume sweet food and beverages, preferably with chlorhexidine mouthwash
  • Eat more fibrous plants and vegetables – these work as a brush to keep your teeth clean. 
  • You could try oil pulling. Mix some turmeric powder in mustard or coconut oil and swish it around your mouth vigorously for a minute or so before spitting it out. Doing so reduces plaque and bacteria. 
  • Rub your gums and teeth with aloe vera gel. 
  • Chew licorice root. 
  • Chewing gum can keep your mouth hydrated and your teeth clean but do not overdo the chewing part. 

Being mindful about the health of your teeth can prevent many teeth and gum line problems from arising in the first place. You can take preventive care at home and visit a general dentistry clinic to clean your teeth and checkup once every three months.


Here are some of the frequently asked questions related to the gum line cavity. Have a look:

1. Can gum line cavities be fixed?

Yes, gum line cavities can be fixed. However, the treatment for a gum line cavity depends on the area where the cavity is located. If it is located above the gum line and is not too extensive, it can be treated with a filling. On the other hand, if a cavity is located down into or below the gum line, and needs more extensive care, a root canal treatment may be required to get rid of the decay and prevent the cavity from spreading to other areas.

2. How long can cavities go untreated?

It is advisable to seek treatment immediately as soon as you notice cavities. The longer you keep a cavity without treatment, the worse it will become day by day. Within a period of 3 to 6 months, cavities can reach the nerve of your tooth. The speed at which a cavity can worsen completely depends on your oral care habits and what you eat. Eating sugary foods with poor oral care can worsen your cavity significantly faster. Therefore, it is advisable to get a cavity treated as quickly as possible to avoid the condition from getting worse.

3. Can you brush away a cavity?

If you detect a cavity in the beginning stage, it can be reversed by following good oral hygiene which includes daily brushing and flossing as well as frequent exposure to fluoride. However, once a cavity is fully formed, it is nearly impossible to get rid of it with brushing.

4. How long do gum line fillings last?

How long do gum line fillings last usually depends on the type of filling you have and the type of material used in fillings. Usually, fillings can last up to 10 years. Since fillings don’t last a lifetime, regular dental checkups can help you determine the right time to replace your filling.

5. When is it too late for a filling?

Small cavities or cavities in the initial stage are generally treatable with fillings. However, large or too deep cavities may require more rigorous treatment. Once bacteria enter your tooth, it may become too late for a filling.

Being mindful about the health of your teeth can prevent many teeth and gum line problems from arising in the first place. You can take preventive care at home and visit a general dentistry clinic to clean your teeth and checkup once every three months.