Carlisle's Dental Health Blog
How will I know if I have a cavity?
Before determining if you have a cavity or not you need to know what exactly a cavity is and what type of damage can it cause.
A cavity, also called tooth decay, is actually a permanently damaged area in the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes.
Cavities are especially common in children, teenagers, and older adults but anyone who has teeth can get cavities, including infants! In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says close to 30 percent of American adults have untreated dental cavities.
Cavities left untreated can destroy your teeth and possibly create more serious issues.
So what are the symptoms?
Symptoms of cavities can vary. When one is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all! As the decay gets larger, it may cause signs and symptoms such as:
- Hot and cold tooth sensitivity
- Lingering sensitivity to sweets
- Pain when you bite down
- Visible holes or pits in your teeth
- Toothache, spontaneous pain, or pain that occurs without any apparent cause
- Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth
When should you see a dentist?
If you have any signs that a cavity is forming, it’s time to see a dentist. If it doesn’t get treated, they can get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth. It can also create more serious complications, like a tooth abscess or an infection that gets into your bloodstream, which can be life-threatening..
Regular dental visits and good brushing and flossing habits are your best protection against cavities and tooth decay. But remember, if you experience a toothache or mouth pain, see your dentist as soon as possible.
Treatment options vary on how severe the cavity may be. Some options include:
- Fillings: also called restorations are the main treatment option when decay has progressed beyond the earliest stage.
- Crowns: for extensive decay or weakened teeth, you may need a crown which is a custom-fitted covering that replaces your tooth’s entire natural crown.
- Root canals: when decay reaches the inner material of your tooth, you may need a root canal. This is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of removing it.
- Tooth extractions: some teeth become so severely decayed that they can’t be restored and must be removed. Having a tooth pulled can leave a gap that allows your other teeth to shift. Consider getting a bridge or a dental implant to replace the missing tooth.
Good oral and dental hygiene can help you avoid cavities. Here are some tips to help prevent cavities:
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste
- Visit your dentist regularly
- Consider dental sealants
- Avoid frequent snacking and sipping (especially with sugar)
Visit Noll Family Dentistry regularly to prevent cavities! Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.