Are you aware of the eight most common symptoms of cavities? More importantly, are you experiencing any of them? If so, it is wise to see your dentist, as cavities and their symptoms worsen the longer you wait.
Serving the Los Lunas, NM area, Dr. Yoon and his compassionate team at Los Lunas Smiles care about you and your oral health. We believe in customized treatment and strive to help our patients by utilizing the most conservative procedures possible to restore and preserve natural teeth.
A cavity begins with harmful bacteria that live in the plaque on your teeth and gums. These bacteria produce acid that erodes the enamel on your teeth, causing decay. As the erosion increases in size, it deepens and can spread to the dentin and pulp of the tooth.
This erosion of dental decay is permanent and will not improve or go away.
To regain the health and function of your tooth, you will need restorative treatment. Fillings can restore small to moderate cavities, but large or severe ones may need root canal treatment or tooth extraction.
The symptoms of a cavity can vary depending on the location and severity. The eight most common symptoms include:
Tooth pain is one of the most complained-about symptoms, and the pain can spread to surrounding tissues and teeth.
The pain can come on without warning or cause, but it can also be related to something you eat or drink. Simple things, such as brushing and flossing, can also cause tooth pain.
Whether or not you have a lingering toothache, pressure may cause a shocking, sharp pain to the tooth and surrounding tissues. This usually occurs with biting down, such as with eating and chewing.
The dentin of a tooth is more porous than enamel. When a cavity erodes into the dentin, hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks can penetrate the tooth. This stimulates the nerves and cells inside the tooth, causing increased sensitivity that can cause surges of pain.
The sensitivity can be severe and brief, or it may be mild and lingering.
Common culprits for tooth sensitivity include foods and drinks that are sweet or have an extreme temperature, such as hot coffee or ice.
As a cavity develops, the decay can cause spots on the surface of the tooth. Over time, the spots get larger and may darken in color. Most commonly, the discoloration is white, brown, or black.
If not taken care of, the discoloration can progress to a hole or pit in your tooth.
Once harmful bacteria penetrate the enamel, the decay spreads and deepens. Eventually, the bacteria eat away at the tooth, leaving a hole or pit that may be visible to the naked eye. You may also be able to feel it when your tongue touches it. Some, however, may not be easily seen or felt, such as those in crevices or between teeth.
When a cavity is close to the gums, the decay can irritate and inflame the surrounding soft tissues. This inflammation can cause swollen or bleeding gums, especially with flossing or brushing.
Swollen, bleeding gums can also indicate gum disease, also known as gingivitis.
Cavities are loaded with harmful bacteria, and these bacteria produce waste, just as all organisms do. This waste can lead to an unpleasant taste and contribute to bad breath, also known as halitosis.
You can have a cavity that produces no noticeable symptoms. In fact, most symptoms don’t start until the cavity reaches the dentin.
But just because a cavity isn’t causing you noticeable problems, it doesn’t mean it isn’t harming you. Left untreated, it will progress and spread.
This is why it’s essential to keep your regular dental checkups and cleanings. Your dental hygienist and dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums for any signs of dental decay or gum disease. And the earlier oral infection is caught, the easier, cheaper, and quicker it is to fix.
Do you have a discolored, painful, or sensitive tooth? Maybe you have noticed a hole in a tooth or chronic bad breath brushing and flossing can’t fix. Does eating, brushing, or flossing cause pain or bleeding?
Just one of the above symptoms could indicate you have a cavity that needs intervention to keep it from progressing to something more serious.
Even if you don’t have symptoms, if it’s been longer than six months since you’ve seen your dentist, you could have a cavity without knowing it.
Is it time for your dental exam? If you are in the surrounding Los Lunas, NM area, our friendly, knowledgeable team at Los Lunas Smiles would love to serve you. Call us at 505-865-4341 today to schedule your exam.