Cavities, or dental caries, are decayed areas of the teeth. They're one of the most common health problems faced around the world, second only to the common cold. If not treated, cavities can cause infection, toothache and ultimately total tooth loss. Here are five symptoms to watch out for.
- Bad Breath
If tooth decay is ignored, bacteria will proliferate, leading to bad breath. When you start noticing bad breath, and you are brushing your teeth and tongue regularly, you should visit your dentist to check for the possibility of cavities.
- Bad Taste in your Mouth
If you notice a chronic bad taste, get your teeth checked out as it may be a sign that a cavity needs to be cleaned out and filled.
- Tooth Sensitivity or Pain
A sensitive or painful tooth can mean a cavity. The tooth may be especially sensitive when you drink something hot or cold but may feel fine otherwise. Sensitivity and pain are usually evidence the cavity has gone on for some time without treatment. You should alert your dentist right away.
- Dark or White Spots
When cavities have progressed, they can become visible to the eye, appearing as a dark or white spot on the infected tooth. If you notice discoloration, you should visit your dentist.
- Holes in Your Teeth
Sometimes you can see a hole on top of the tooth or feel it with your tongue. This is not a good sign! You need to schedule an appointment with your dentist right away for treatment.
- Pus, Swelling or Extreme Pain
These symptoms may indicate an abscessed. The pus is caused by a bacterial infection inside the tooth resulting from untreated tooth decay. It can cause fever, pain and swollen glands and requires immediate medical attention as it will spread throughout your jaw.
The best time to catch a cavity is in the early stages, when there are few, if any, symptoms. That's why a twice-yearly dental cleaning and exam is important. You may not know a cavity is there – but your dentist will!
If you have a cavity we will let you know the best course of treatment for your particular situation. This could be as easy as doing a simple and virtually painless procedure using an air abrasion technique. If you are symptomatic, we may have to formulate a more in-depth treatment plan. We strongly encourage you to follow our treatment plan without delay. Your cavity will not get better on its own – it will only worsen. This means it becomes more painful, more expensive to treat, and more likely to impact the integrity of your tooth.
As always, brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss at least once a day, and (have we said this already?) come in for your regular dental cleaning and check up. These steps will help you be proactive in preventing cavities.
Is it time for your dental appointment? Call us at 919.755.3450 or schedule online.