What Are the Classes of Cavities?

Dr. Firoz Lalani

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Firoz Lalani

Table of Contents

Cavities. Some have had them, most dread it thinking their dentist might discover it. Tooth decay is more serious than it looks. According to experts at A dental Care Houston, you must understand cavities to maintain oral health. This way, you are informed and aware. It will enable you to make your appointment in time and communicate with your dentist effectively.

Dental clinics of Texas examine cavities using a standard classification system since not all are the same. Depending on the area of tooth decay and tooth type, there are six classes of cavities.

What is the Cavity Classification System?

Cavities were not classified this decade or even this century even. The system was developed over 100 years ago by Dr. G.V. Black. This classification system, more than a century later, still stands relevant.

  • Class I

This kind of tooth decay is easily visible on the surface. Your dentist can spot it easily and you can see it on your back teeth. Class I cavities show up on the front and back of your front teeth. They are also visible on your molars and premolars.

  • Class II

This category is mostly for cavities that occur between molars and premolars but unlike class I, these are only discovered through dental examination. You cannot spot them on your own.

  • Class III

In this case, tooth decay can be spotted in the area between the front teeth.  The edges of the teeth are not included in class III. It is not easily visible to the human eye.

  • Class IV

Quite similar to class III, the decay occurs on the surfaces between the front teeth. However, the cutting edges of the teeth are also included here.

  • Class V

This decay is found on the front or back of either front or back teeth, but mostly near the gumline.

  • Class VI

These cavities appear on the top surfaces of the teeth. The areas include the cusp tips of back teeth or the incisal edges of front teeth.

During your dental appointment with Houston dentist, the first assessment will help detect cavities on the surface level. Further diagnosis of cavity class is confirmed through x-rays and other procedures.

How to determine the severity of decay?

There are four classifications when it comes to the severity of tooth decay. To understand these classifications, you need to understand the layers of the tooth. The outermost layer is the calcified enamel that contains/protects the inner portion called dentin. It further contains the pulp inside. This is the innermost layer of a tooth that includes connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels.

Now the evaluation is done based on the damage and penetration on each layer of the tooth.

  • Incipient

The cavities limit to the enamel and it goes halfway through it.

  • Moderate

These cavities can go beyond halfway through the enamel but still do not affect the dentin yet. The dentinoenamel junction (DEJ)is the area where enamel and dentin meet. A moderate cavity does not affect this boundary.

  • Advanced

This is where the cavities not only surpass DEJ but also enter the pulp chamber.

  • Severe

Here the cavity has penetrated through the enamel and dentin; fully into the pulp.

How to Prevent cavities

  • Make sure to rinse your mouth regularly. This is especially applicable if your dentist says you are more prone to tooth decay and cavities. In this case, make sure to use a mouth rinse that contains fluoride.
  • Make sure to stay updated on the antibacterial treatments. In the case of a medical condition, there are chances that you are at a higher risk of developing cavities. Speak to the doctor about it. S/he may recommend you some antibacterial rinses or treatments that will help in eliminating bacteria.
  • Brushing your teeth using fluoride toothpaste is a great way to prevent cavities altogether. The ideal time, in this case, would be after meals. Still, make sure there is a gap. Flossing once a day, before brushing, will also aid in preventing cavities.
  • Include tooth-friendly foods. Regardless of the nutritional value, there are some foods and beverages that work well for your oral health. Make sure to avoid foods that get stuck between your teeth. If you are at a higher risk of developing cavities, then try avoiding acidic foods as well.
  • In support of the above tip, make sure to avoid late-night snacking and binge-eating. Drinking a lot of beverages especially sodas and sugary drinks will eventually lead to cavities.
  • Do not skip dental visits. Nothing is better than getting treated and consulted by medical professionals. There are layers to every condition and your dentist can prescribe you a suitable treatment.


Nothing is better than seeing a “zero cavities” report. Still, familiarity with types of cavities and their severity is important. Consult experts at a dental care Houston for dedicated dental treatments and services.


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