Dental Cavities: What To Do If You Have One
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 and can develop into a big problem if left untreated. If you know the symptoms of a cavity, you can schedule an appointment to get it fixed before the cavity becomes a bigger problems needing a root canal or other lengthy procedure. A great way to detect cavities in the early stages is by getting cleanings and exams twice a year at DentalWorks in Anderson, SC. Using state-of-the-art equipment like digital x-rays, we can assess an existing cavity as well as weakened areas of enamel that are at high risk. However, if you're experiencing symptoms of a cavity, like pain or sensitivity, you may want to try to get an earlier appointment.
NOT TOO HOT AND NOT TOO COLD
Are you starting to sound like Goldilocks whenever you try to eat or drink? Tooth sensitivity is one of the earliest signs of a cavity. It's usually mild, but noticeable pain whenever you try to enjoy something that’s particularly sweet, hot, or cold. This happens because when you have a cavity, the decay in your tooth will allow air and other irritants access to the dental nerve. This nerve can be jolted by extreme temperatures, which is a clear sign that you have a cavity that needs to be treated. If you can no longer enjoy a steaming cup of joe at your favorite café in Anderson, SC without the pain of tooth sensitivity, schedule an appointment for a dental exam.
I DON'T NEED TO CHEW ON THAT SIDE
If it hurts to chew on a certain tooth, 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 have a cavity or other dental problem. You might avoid going to the dentist if the pain isn't too bad. While some level of decay is probably already present, treatment can help you avoid further damage.
A cavity can change the color of the infected tooth or cause the development of 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, enamel discoloration is a clear clue that you need a dentist. Even if you’re not concerned about discoloration affecting the appearance of your smile, you need to be concerned about your oral health. Make an appointment at DentalWorks in Anderson, SC to get enamel discoloration diagnosed and treated.
A VISIBLE HOLE
Eventually, you may be able to see pits or a hole in your tooth as a result of a cavity. When you see or feel a hole in your tooth, it's definitely time to have it checked out by a professional. Do not wait for your next cleaning. The cavity needs to be treated while there's still a chance to save the tooth. Otherwise, an extraction may be recommended to remove the tooth before it can infect nearby teeth. Without treatment, the infection can even spread from your mouth to your blood and impact your overall health.
SO HOW DID I GET A CAVITY?
Both your mouth and stomach have beneficial and harmful bacteria. Bad bacteria, typically from high sugar drinks and food, when it isn’t removed quickly with proper brushing, turns into plaque on your enamel. The acid in these plaque formations erode the enamel and make it thin and weak. Eventually, a hole (cavity) develops in the enamel. Since the molars have lots of grooves and crevices on the top that give bacteria a hiding place, cavities often develop here. One way to avoid cavities is to limit your consumption of drinks and food that are highly acidic or have a high sugar content (like citrus juices and soda). Brushing and flossing your teeth properly can also help reduce the chance of developing cavities. Patients who do get cavities a lot ask about proactive treatments like professional fluoride rinses and dental sealants.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR CAVITIES
When you visit DentalWorks in Anderson, SC with symptoms of a cavity or other concerns, we will usually 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 see if the decay has spread. When your cavity is identified, we’ll develop a treatment plan. Typically, the cavity will be 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 so it blends seamlessly. If a filling is not enough to cover the cavity, you may need an inlay, onlay, or crown. Root canal therapy may be necessary if the infection has reached the dental pulp.
Visiting your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and exam is the best way to prevent cavities. However, if you haven't been in a while or you have symptoms of a cavity, contact DentalWorks in Anderson, SC. Don't suffer from sensitivity, pain, and toothaches; our compassionate team will do everything to make your visit quick and get you the treatment you need. If you have 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.