Dental Cavities: What To Do If You Have One
TOOTH PAIN AND OTHER SIGNS OF A CAVITY
You may know that you don't want a cavity in your teeth, but do you know what causes them and can you tell when you have one? Cavities (also known as dental caries) start as a small 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 can 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. A great way to catch cavities early is by getting cleanings and exams twice a year at DentalWorks in Clearwater, IN. Using state-of-the-art equipment like digital x-rays, your dentist can assess 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 may want to schedule your next appointment sooner.
THIS ONE’S TOO HOT! THIS ONE’S TOO COLD!
Are you starting to sound like Goldilocks whenever you try to eat or drink? One of the first signs of a cavity is tooth sensitivity. This can be mild, but noticeable pain whenever you try to enjoy something that’s especially hot, cold, or sweet. Why does this happen? When you have a cavity, the damage to your tooth will allow air and other irritants to reach the nerve inside your tooth. This nerve can be jolted by extreme temperatures, which is a clear sign that you have a cavity that needs to be repaired. If you can no longer enjoy a steaming cup of joe at your favorite café in Clearwater, IN because of tooth sensitivity, you need to be concerned about your dental health.
I JUST WON’T CHEW ON THAT SIDE
If it hurts to chew on the tooth you think may have a cavity, that is definitely a red flag. When a tooth is even mildly sensitive to touch and especially if it cannot perform its essential function of chewing your food, this is an indication 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. While tooth decay is probably already 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. Brown or black spots on a tooth is a visible sign of a cavity. Whether or not you have any other symptoms of a cavity, color change is a clear sign that you need to visit a dentist. Even if you’re not worried about the appearance of your smile from discoloration, you need to be concerned about your oral health. Contact DentalWorks in Clearwater, IN to discover the source of the discoloration and get it treated.
THERE’S A HOLE IN MY TOOTH
If you wait long enough, you may be able to see pits or a hole in your tooth caused by the cavity. When you see or feel a hole in your tooth, please have it checked out by your dentist. Do not wait for your next appointment. You need to get this addressed while the tooth can still be saved. Otherwise, you may need to have the tooth pulled before it can infect other teeth or the rest of your mouth. Eventually, if the cavity is left untreated, the infection can even spread from your mouth to your blood, which will affect your whole body.
WHAT CAUSES CAVITIES?
Your mouth, like your stomach, has beneficial and harmful bacteria. Bad bacteria, typically from sugary foods and drinks, when it isn’t removed quickly with proper brushing, turns into plaque on your enamel. These plaque formations have acid that erode the outer layer of your teeth and make it weak. Eventually, the enamel develops a hole or cavity. Since the back teeth have crevices and grooves on the top that can trap bacteria, this is where most cavities are commonly found. To avoid cavities, you should try to limit your consumption of drinks and food that are highly acidic or have a high sugar content (for example, soda and citrus juices). Brushing and flossing your teeth properly can also help reduce your risk of cavities. If you do get cavities frequently, ask about proactive treatments like professional fluoride rinses and dental sealants.
TAKING CARE OF CAVITIES
When you visit our office in Clearwater, IN with concerns or signs of a cavity, we will typically start with a physical exam to assess your teeth. Your dentist may recommend a series of digital x-rays to help us diagnose the cavity and check the spread of the infection. Once your cavity is identified, we’ll develop a treatment plan. A cavity is typically cleaned out then the hole is sealed with a tooth-colored filling. The composite resin used for the filling will be shaded to match your natural teeth for a seamless finish. If the cavity is too large for a filling, you may need an inlay, onlay, or crown. A root canal may also be necessary if the infection has spread to the interior pulp of your tooth.
WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Visiting your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and exam is the best defense against cavities. However, if you’ve been skipping your regular appointments and you have symptoms of a cavity, contact DentalWorks in Clearwater, IN. You don’t have to suffer from sensitivity or toothaches; our compassionate team will do everything to make your visit pleasant and get you the treatment you need. If you have dental fears or anxiety about visiting the dentist, ask about our many sedation options to help keep you relaxed and comortable throughout your visit.
* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.