Tooth decay is one of the most serious dental problems and can have an impact on the overall health and structure of your teeth. It is caused by many reasons, so looking for the signs and symptoms of decay can help in receiving treatment as soon as possible. Take care of cavities early on can prevent the decay from getting worse, causing the need for either a root canal treatment or teeth loss.
What Are Dental Cavities?
Tooth decay is caused when erosion has occurred to the enamel and bacteria has been allowed to infect the inner part of teeth. Plaque and specific foods can finally be rotting at the sensitive enamel, making the tooth more liable to decay. When the enamel becomes drawn, bacteria can infect the actual tooth’s dentin layer and cause a cavity.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Cavities
1. Visible Discoloration or Dark Spots
When a cavity starts to develop, it can cause black dark spots on the tooth’s surface. At first, these spots may look like simple staining and you may even assume that you just have mild tooth discoloration or may be due to food colors. After some time, the dark spot gets larger, signaling tooth decay. In most cases, cavities can even look like white spots or light marks on the tooth.
2. Sensitivity to Hot or Cold
As the decay continues to infect the tooth, the dentin layer becomes exposed. The dentin is more penetrable and can cause problems with sensitivity. You may notice that your teeth feel more sensitive to hot and cold or that one or two teeth, in particular, have issues with sensitivity. Whenever you drink something hot or cold, you may notice a sudden pain in one specific tooth. This may be a signal that there is a cavity present.
3. Holes or Craters on Teeth
The bacteria that are present with a cavity eventually eat into the tooth, causing small black holes and pits in the enamel. These holes are a sign that a cavity has formed and you most likely need a filling or if you don’t take the proper treatment you may lose your teeth. The decay can only be removed and the new filling will fill in the hole that is currently visible.
4. Bad Breath and Unpleasant Taste
Cavities are caused by a bacterial infection that exposes the dentin layer that has been allowed to compromise a tooth. As with all other organisms, the bacteria in your mouth produce waste that can lead to bad breath and an annoying taste in your mouth. If you notice that you have steady bad breath that is difficult to mask, it may be time for a dental checkup.
5. Pain and Discomfort
The tooth that has a cavity may be causing you severe pain. You may find it difficult to bite down the food without sharp, shocking pain. Other patients find it difficult to brush or clean certain areas because of pain or sensitivity. This is caused due to the dentin layer being exposed and affecting the inner nerve of the tooth.
To avoid dental cavities, do your best to practice good oral hygiene and let your dentist know if you are experiencing any of the symptoms. The sooner you catch a cavity problem, the better your chances are of only needing a dental filling rather than a more invasive procedure.