Cavities are a concern that we’re all aware of. They’re the result of acid and bacteria carving holes in our enamel and dentin. What you may not be aware of is that a classification method exists that your dentist uses to describe them. These terms permit your dentist to describe your cavities directly and straightforwardly accurately. They also guide your dentists in choosing appropriate treatment methods. It will also tell them how urgent those treatments are. We will take steps to unlock the dental notation code and help you understand how dentists classify cavities.
GV Black And His Amazing Cavity Classification System
The system used by your dentist is referred to as the GV Black classification system. This system is given the name of the man who originally developed it. He was born in 1836 and practiced dentistry for much of his life. He finally passed away in 1915, having provided significant contributions to the science of dentistry. Perhaps the most significant is the dental cavity classification system that bears his name.
This system is built on the back of various classes that are used in describing your cavities. Let’s explore some of the dental terms used in this system:
- Occlusal – The tooth’s biting surface is defined as the portion that contacts the tooth in the opposing arch. IE – The biting surface of a bottom molar that touches the top molar.
- Lingual – Lingual is a term that refers to the tongue. As such, this refers to the part of your tooth that faces it.
- Buccal – This term refers to that part of your tooth facing the cheek.
- Interproximal – The place where two teeth touch, hidden from eyesight.
- Proximal – The part of the tooth facing towards your central body mass.
Understanding these terms will help in learning about the following classes:
- Class I – A cavity that develops in the pits and crevices of the occlusal surface.
- Class II – You can find these cavities on the premolars and molars on their proximal surface. Gum tissue and location often obscure these from casual viewing.
- Class III – Canines and incisors are the only places this cavity-type develops. They specifically form on the flat, proximal surfaces of these teeth.
- Class IV – The narrow biting surface of the teeth is where these cavities form.
- Class V – Below the gum line, you’ll find the ‘neck’ of the tooth and class V cavities.
- Class VI – The biting edge and cusps of the teeth are where these can be found.
Along with describing where they can be found, a set of terms describes their severity.
- Incipient – Minimal penetration of the enamel, less than 50%
- Moderate – More than 50% penetration of the enamel without reaching dentin
- Advanced – Total penetration of the enamel and less than 50% of the dentin
- Severe – Penetration through enamel and dentin to the pulp
Combining the above terms creates a description that accurately indicates the location and severity of your cavity.
Your Dentist Can Tell You More
Those who’d like to become better informed about the development of cavities can speak to their dentist. Why not arrange your next bi-annual visit and show up with a list of questions?