How Do I Know If I Have A Cavity?
What Causes a Cavity?
Carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as cereal, bread, candy, fruit, or cake can stay on your teeth. Certain types of bacteria use these carbs to produce acids. These acids destroy:
- the tooth’s outer layer called enamel
- the layer underneath called the dentin
The combination of bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva contribute to plaque formation. The plaque sticks to your teeth. The acids in plaque break down the enamel, causing holes called cavities.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Cavity?
Not every cavity has symptoms, so it’s important to see your dentist regularly. Regular dental checkups can help catch cavities when they are small and can only be detected by your dentist.
Signs of a Cavity:
- Sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet drinks and foods
- Pain when chewing
- Holes or pits in the tooth can be seen.
- Staining or chalky white appearance
What are the Complications That Can Happen From an Untreated Cavity?
If you leave a cavity untreated, complications that can occur include:
- Mild to sharp mouth/jaw pain and discomfort
- Fractured tooth
- Tooth abscess
- Can't bite down on tooth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Bone loss
- Bone Infection
How Can You Prevent Cavities?
It’s easier to prevent a cavity than to have one treated. Good oral hygiene is the best way to help prevent cavities. Stick to a regular routine that includes:
- Brushing at least twice a day, especially after meals
- Flossing at least daily
- If you can't brush after meals, use water to rinse out your mouth to dislodge and remove food debris.
Lifestyle changes can also help prevent cavities, such as:
- Limit snacking: Constant snacking generates a steady supply of acid in your mouth.
- Avoid sugary drinks, mints, and candy: Regularly drinking sugary drinks or sucking on mints or candy also gives bacteria in your mouth a steady supply to create acid.
The lack of certain vitamins and minerals can also contribute to tooth decay:
- Lack of fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K
- Lack of minerals in the diet: magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus deficiency
Professional dental care can also prevent cavities, such as:
- Regular professional dental cleanings
- When you notice oral health issues, you go to your dentist.
When Should You Do If You Think You Have a Cavity?
If you have the signs and symptoms of a cavity, it’s important to see your dentist right away to avoid any complications or pain.
It’s also important to see your dentist every 6 months to check for any cavities that you may not even know you have.
How Does Your Dentist Treat a Cavity?
An X-ray will be performed, so your dentist can see how far the cavity has progressed into the tooth.
Then, your dentist will clear away the tooth decay using a drill. Your dentist will then place a filling in the area to seal up the hole and protect your tooth. If the decay is severe, your dentist may replace the tooth with a crown (also called a cap) or perform a root canal.
At least two preventive dental appointments per year can help keep your teeth and mouth at their healthiest. Schedule an appointment today with one of our highly qualified dentists. At Dental365, we can take care of your general dentistry needs, including cavities, fillings, and crowns. Call us today at 844.365.DENTAL or request an appointment through our website at any time.