TOOTH PAIN AND OTHER SIGNS OF A CAVITY
Cavities are one of the most common dental problems, but do you know how they develop and if you have a cavity? Dental caries, more commonly known as cavities, start as decay that creates a tiny hole in the enamel of your tooth and if left untreated, they can become a big problem. This is why it’s important to know the symptoms of a cavity so you'll know to get it fixed early with a tooth-colored filling instead of waiting until the interior of your tooth is infected and you need a root canal. One of the easiest ways to catch cavities early is by scheduling an annual exam at your dentist's office in Wake Forest, NC. With advanced equipment like digital x-rays, your dentist can identify weak areas in your enamel that may develop into cavities as well as existing cavities. However, if you have pain or some of these other signs of a cavity, you should schedule your next appointment sooner.
THIS ONE’S TOO HOT! THIS ONE’S TOO COLD!
Do you quote Goldilocks every time you drink or eat? One of the first signs of a cavity is tooth sensitivity. This can be a sharp jolt of pain in your tooth whenever you want to enjoy a food or drink that’s especially hot, cold, or sweet. Why does this happen? When you get a cavity, the damage to your enamel allows irritants to reach the nerve inside your tooth. The nerve is triggered by hot and cold temperatures and it is an early symptom of a cavity that you need to have repaired. If you aren't able to enjoy a hot cup of coffee because of tooth sensitivity, you need to be concerned about your dental health.
I JUST WON’T CHEW ON THAT SIDE
When it's painful to chew on the tooth you think may have a cavity, that's a big clue. If a tooth is sensitive to pressure and particularly if you can't chew with it, which is a tooth's primary function, this is a sign that you could be on your way to a dental emergency with a cavity. You may be avoiding a visit to the dentist because you don't think the pain you feel is serious enough. Even though tooth decay may already be present, it’s not too late to stop further damage with treatment.
A TOOTH OF A DIFFERENT COLOR
In time, the infected tooth may change color or develop spots. Black or brown areas on your enamel are an obvious symptom that you have a cavity. Even if you don't have other cavity symptoms, color change is a big sign that you need to visit a dentist. Even though you may not worried about the appearance of your smile from discoloration, you should be worried about your health. Contact your dentist in Wake Forest, NC to discover the source of the discoloration and get it treated.
THERE’S A HOLE IN MY TOOTH
If you wait long enough, you might see a hole or pits in your enamel caused by the cavity. If you feel or see a hole in a tooth, please have it checked out by your dentist. Don't wait until your next appointment. You need to get this addressed while the tooth can still be saved. If not, you may need to have the tooth pulled before it has a chance to infect other teeth or the rest of your mouth. Eventually, if the cavity is left untreated, the infection can spread to your bloodstream, which will affect your whole body.
WHAT CAUSES CAVITIES?
Your mouth, like your stomach, has good and bad bacteria. Harmful bacteria, usually left by sugary foods and drinks, when you don't remove it fast enough, becomes plaque. These plaque formations have acid that erode the outer layer of your teeth making it weak. In time, the enamel develops a hole or cavity. Since the back teeth have crevices and grooves that can trap bacteria, this is where most cavities are commonly found. To avoid cavities, you should try to limit your consumption of sugary and highly acidic foods and drinks (for example, soda and citrus juices). Flossing and brushing every day also helps to minimize your risk of cavities. If you do get cavities frequently, ask about preventive options like dental sealants and professional fluoride treatments.
TAKING CARE OF CAVITIES
If you make an appointment at our office in Wake Forest, NC with concerns or signs of a cavity, we will typically begin with a basic examination to check your oral health. We may need digital x-rays to diagnose the problem and check the spread of the infection. Once the cavity is diagnosed, your dentist can create a plan for treatment. A cavity is typically removed from the enamel and then the area is protected with a filling. DentalWorks offers fillings made with composite resin, which will be tinted based on the color of your teeth for a seamless finish. If the cavity is too large for a filling, we may suggest a custom onlay, inlay, or dental crown. A root canal may also be necessary if the decay has spread to the interior pulp of your tooth.
WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Getting an annual exam and twice-yearly cleanings is the best defense against cavities. However, if you’ve been skipping your regular appointments and you are concerned that you may have a cavity, go to a dentist in Wake Forest, NC. You don’t have to suffer from sensitivity or toothaches; we will work hard to make your appointment pleasant while getting you the right treatment. For patients with dental fears or anxiety about visiting the dentist, ask for more information on our sedation methods to keep you calm and comfortable while we restore your dental health.