Almost everyone has had one or more cavities in their life. Cavities, also known as tooth decay, can have long-term damages to your teeth, especially if we leave them untreated. Unfortunately, anyone who has teeth can have tooth decay if they do not properly look after their teeth.
If you know the symptoms of tooth decay, you can get on top of it before it becomes a bigger problem than it already is. Here, we will give you 3 symptoms to watch out for as signs of a cavity and what to do if you notice these signs in your teeth.
- Sensitivity to Temperature
One of the most common signs of a cavity is sensitivity. We all have enamel on our teeth – you probably have heard this from countless commercials and dentists. Our enamel is the outer layer and the protection to our teeth – this is also what keeps our teeth white.
Under our enamel, we have what we call dentin. This is a hard tissue layer; however, it is porous and has little hollow tubes (not big enough for the naked eye to see). Once the dentin is exposed, hot and cold foods and drinks can hit the cells and nerves, which can create sensitivity.
Toothache is usually the first sign that you should visit a dentist. This occurs when there is inflammation in the central part of the tooth where the nerve endings are. This means that the toothache usually runs right up into the jaw, which can be extremely uncomfortable.
Whether you have pain when chewing or it is consistently painful, seek help immediately. Toothache can point to more than surface tooth decay, and it could mean that there is decay going on in the root of your tooth.
- Staining on Teeth
You may not realize that staining on your teeth can be a sign of a cavity and tooth decay. If you see that you have a white spot on your tooth – get yourself to the dentist.
White spots are a sign of tooth decay. If not looked after right away, the tooth decay will advance, and the stains will become darker. These are stains that you won’t be able to brush away, so you may want a whitening treatment done after all the dental work.
Causes of Tooth Decay
Plaque – a word you have probably heard a thousand times. Tooth decay is caused by a buildup of plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a clear film that will coat your teeth if not brushed away. You build up plaque as you eat more sugars and starches, then don’t clean your teeth properly.
Once plaque builds up, it will attack your enamel, which will erode, causing the first stage of cavities. As the destruction continues, so does the tooth decay, so you want to get your cavities fixed right away.
Treatments for Symptoms of Tooth Decay
There are multiple ways to treat tooth decay, but it will depend on how advanced your cavities are and what your dentist thinks is best. Usually, if you are in the early stages of a cavity, a simple fluoride treatment will help the enamel repair itself. With typical cavities, your dentist will most likely give you a filling – this is when they will clean out the rest of the tooth decay and fill the hole.
If you’re in the late stages of tooth decay, your dentist will either give you a root canal if they believe they can save the tooth; or in the worst-case scenario, they will pull the tooth.
Get to the Dentist
If you are noticing any of the above symptoms of tooth decay, then you need to get yourself to the dentist as soon as possible. If you think you have a cavity, or something wrong with a tooth, you don’t want to leave that to fester as it can only worsen. You may be a little scared of the dentist – as many people are – but don’t let that get in the way of you have your best smile!
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