We’re all familiar with the concept of cavities. They’re nasty little holes dug in our teeth through the action of sugar-eating, acid-producing bacteria. Likely, you’re not familiar with the classifications your dentist has for your cavities. During your dental hygiene visit, you may notice that your dentist is making notes using classifications about your cavities. These classifications serve as a guideline for how treatment of your cavity is to proceed. In this article, we’re going to crack the code on dental notation and how your dentist classifies your cavities.
Understanding GV Black Classification Of Cavities
The system used for categorizing your cavities is known as the GV Black classification system. Why GV Black? The creator of this system was Dr. GV Black. Dr. Black was born in 1836 and passed away in 1915. During their career, they made numerous contributions to dental science. Among those contributions was the development of this system for classifying dental cavities. The term he used to describe the different types of cavity was ‘classes.’
Before we begin discussing these classes, let’s introduce some basic dental terms you may not be familiar with:
- Occlusal – The portion of the tooth that comes into contact with teeth in the opposite jaw. These are your biting surfaces.
- Lingual – This is the portion of the tooth that faces the tongue.
- Buccal – The portion of the tooth in contact with your cheek.
- Interproximal – The portion of your tooth that touches a neighboring tooth
- Proximal – Closest to the center of the body
Now we can move onto the classes of cavity:
- Class I – This form of cavity forms in the occlusal crevices and pits. Class I cavities are those you can see and include those that happen on the buccal and lingual portions of your teeth.
- Class II – These cavities form on the proximal areas of the molars and premolars. This damage is generally not visible due to its location and gum tissue.
- Class III – This type of cavity occurs on your incisors and canines, but only where there is no ‘angle’ to the tooth. They also occur only on the proximal surface of the front teeth.
- Class IV – This form of cavity occurs on the biting surface of the incisors and canines.
- Class V – These cavities form below the gumline on the ‘neck’ of the tooth.
- Class VI – This form of cavity forms on the tips of the cusps of most teeth and the biting edge of the front teeth.
There is also a separate set of classifications that discusses the severity of your cavity. These are often used in conjunction with the GB Black classification to describe the cavity fully.
- Incipient – When the cavity has penetrated less than half the enamel
- Moderate – Greater than incipient penetration, but not total
- Advanced – Enamel has been penetrated, but less than halfway through dentin
- Severe – Total penetration of enamel and dentin and has reached the dental pulp
The combination of the above classifications and severity describes the state of your cavity.
Speak To Your Dentist To Learn More
If you want to discover more facts about cavities and how they form, speak to your dentist. Now is a great time to arrange that next twice-yearly visit and get all the information you need!