Six Signs You May Have a Cavity in Your Tooth
It’s normal for plaque to form on your teeth from the foods that you eat. Regular brushing and flossing remove this unwanted coating from your teeth. However, if your oral hygiene routine is lacking, the bacteria found in plaque will break down your teeth, resulting in cavities. This is why it’s so important to see our Clear Lake dentist for frequent checkups.
A cavity isn’t something that goes away on its own. In fact, if left untreated, decay worsens and you could possibly end up losing a tooth because of it. So, it’s important to recognize some of the signs of a cavity so that you can have it evaluated right away.
#1 Decayed Teeth Are Often Sensitive To Extreme Temperatures.
When something cold touches your tooth and you experience sensitivity, it could mean that you have a cavity (but not always.) Furthermore, if you experience discomfort with warm or hot temperatures then you likely have a severe cavity that has reached the nerve of your tooth and caused an infection.
#2 Sensitivity To Sweets
Sugar is notorious for breaking down tooth enamel, resulting in cavities. Once the decay begins it’s likely that your favorite food and drink will cause sensitivity.
#3 Cavities Are Dark-Colored
When you look at your tooth, if you see a dark area, it could very well be a stain, but is just as likely to be a cavity. And fun fact, the first stage of decay usually looks like a white spot on teeth.
#4 A Hole In Your Tooth Is An Indication Of Decay
Decay breaks down tooth enamel which is the outermost layer, and hardest part of your tooth. When your cavity breaks through the enamel, you’ll notice that there’s a hole in your tooth. Maybe you won’t feel it, but food packs each time you eat or floss gets stuck (or breaks) when you clean between your teeth.
#5 A Chipped Or Broken Tooth Is A Sign Of A Cavity
As your cavity continues to grow, more of the tooth will break down around it, resulting in chipped and broken portions of enamel and deeper layers. You’ll likely have some sharp points on your tooth which can be quite uncomfortable enough to cut your cheek or tongue.
#6 Pain During Biting Can Mean Decay
Advanced tooth decay can cause a lingering pain after you eat certain foods, or simply when you just bite your teeth together. Pain with biting can mean that the nerve inside of the tooth is inflamed. This type of discomfort is also an indication of a cracked tooth which may or may not be due to a cavity.
These Signs Aren’t A Foolproof Method For Detecting Decay
Even if you don’t have any of the above signs or symptoms, it’s possible to still have a cavity. X-rays are the best diagnostic tool for determining if you have tooth decay. Though still not a foolproof method, X-rays allow our Clear Lake dentist to see things that we can’t detect when we simply look inside your mouth. For instance, radiographs can show us how deep a cavity is, if there’s decay between your teeth and if it extends underneath the gum or into the nerve.
We recommend having radiographs taken once per year. Doing so will allow us to tend to areas of concern before the issue gets too far along. This typically means that you’ll need an inexpensive and less invasive treatment.
How To Treat A Dental Cavity
The proper way to fix your cavity depends on its size. With a small area of decay, the affected portion of the tooth is removed and then the void is filled in with a tooth-colored composite material.
For cavities that are larger than half of the surface of your tooth, it will cause the tooth to be too weak for a filling. It can break if not treated properly, so our dentist in Clear Lake will often recommend a crown to cover and secure the compromised tooth.
When the cavity has reached the nerve of the tooth and caused an abscess, the only way to rid the infection is to remove the nerve tissue with root canal therapy.
If the decay is so rampant that there is not a sufficient amount of healthy tooth structure left, then the only option is to have the tooth extracted.
Schedule Your Dental Checkup Today
If you’re due for your annual x-rays and oral exam then come to see Rosas Family Dentistry. Our office is conveniently located in Clear Lake, Texas, where we serve the League City, Webster, Seabrook, Friendswood, Kemah, and NASA areas. Call to schedule an appointment today.