Dental Cavities: What To Do If You Have One
CAVITIES: SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
You may know that you don't want a cavity in your teeth, but do you know how they develop and if you have a cavity? Dental caries, more commonly known as cavities, start as decay that creates a tiny hole in your tooth and may become a bigger, more painful problem if you don't get it treated. When you can identify the first signs of a cavity, you'll know to visit your dentist and get it treated so you don't let it turn into a bigger problem that requires a more advanced treatment, like a root canal or extraction. A great way to find cavities before they become a bigger problem is by getting cleanings and exams twice a year at your dentist's office in Willoughby, OH. With advanced equipment like digital x-rays, a dental professional can assess cavities that have already formed as well as areas with weak enamel that are at high risk. However, if you're in pain or have other symptoms of a cavity, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible.
TOO COLD, TOO HOT, NOTHING'S JUST RIGHT!
Do you quote Goldilocks every time you drink or eat? Dental sensitivity is an early symptom of a cavity. You'll usually experience a sharp jolt of pain in your tooth whenever you want to enjoy a food or drink that’s cold, hot, or sweet. When you get a cavity, the hole in your enamel allows irritants a path to the tooth's nerve. The nerve is triggered by hot and cold temperatures and it is an early symptom of a cavity that you need to have fixed. If you aren't able to enjoy a hot cup of coffee without feeling tooth sensitivity, tell your dentist during your next appointment.
CHEWING ON JUST ONE SIDE
When it's painful to chew on one side of your mouth, that's a big clue. If a tooth is sensitive to pressure and particularly if you can't chew with it, which is a tooth's primary function, this is a sign that you need treatment right away for a cavity or other dental condition. You may think you don't need to go to the dentist since it doesn't feel that serious. Even though a certain amount of decay may already be present, you can avoid bigger problems with proper care.
Over time, the cavity may cause your tooth to change colors or develop spots. Black or brown areas on your enamel are an obvious symptom that you have a cavity. Even if you don't have other cavity symptoms, a tooth that changes colors is a big hint that you need help from a dental professional. Even though you may not bothered about how your smile will look with spots of discoloration, you should be worried about your health. Visit your dentist in Willoughby, OH to have the problem causing discoloration diagnosed and then treated for restored oral health.
PITS AND HOLES
After enough time without treatment, you might see a hole or pits in your enamel from a cavity. If you feel or see a hole in a tooth, you need to have it checked out. Don't wait until your regular visit. The problem should be looked at while you still have some treatment options. If not, the tooth will need to be removed before it has a chance to infect your teeth and gums. If you still don't get the cavity treated, the infection can spread to your bloodstream and impact every aspect of your health.
HOW DID THIS CAVITY GET HERE?
Like your stomach, your mouth has beneficial and harmful bacteria. Harmful bacteria, usually left by food and drinks with a high sugar content, when you don't remove it fast enough, becomes plaque. Acid in these plaque formations erode the enamel on the outside of your tooth making it weak and thin. In time, a cavity appears in the enamel. Since the molars in the back of your mouth have plenty of crevices that are great hiding places for bacteria, most cavities are found here. Your risk of cavities can be reduced if you rid your diet of drinks and food that are highly acidic or have a high sugar content (including soft drinks and citrus juices). Flossing and brushing properly also helps to minimize the risk of getting cavities. Patients at high risk for developing cavities should ask about proactive treatments like professional fluoride rinses and dental sealants.
A TREATMENT PLAN FOR YOUR CAVITY
If you make an appointment at our practice in Willoughby, OH with specific concerns, we will begin with a basic examination to check your oral health. We may need digital x-rays to diagnose the problem and determine the spread of the decay beyond the surface of the tooth. As soon as the cavity is diagnosed, your dentist can create a plan for treatment. In most cases, the cavity will be removed from the enamel and then the area is protected with a filling. DentalWorks offers fillings made with composite resin, which will be tinted based on the color of your teeth to keep your smile looking beautiful. If the tooth cannot support a filling or you need more coverage, we may suggest a custom onlay, inlay, or dental crown. An advanced procedure, like a root canal, may be needed if the decay has gotten into the interior area of the tooth, known as the pulp.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Visiting your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and exam is the best way to avoid cavities. However, if you are concerned that you may have a cavity, go to a dentist in Willoughby, OH. Stop suffering from toothaches and sensitivity; we will work hard to make your appointment easy while getting you the right treatment. For patients with dental fears, ask for more information on our sedation methods to 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.