How To Tell If You Have A Cavity
Dental health is directly related to your overall health. Keeping your mouth clean and free from cavities and tooth decay is important. Many Americans walk around with untreated cavities which can destroy your teeth and create even more complicated long-term issues. Educating yourself on what a cavity is, the signs and symptoms that may indicate that you have a cavity, and helpful prevention measures can keep your mouth clean and healthy.
What is a Cavity?
When leftover food and bacteria build up in your mouth and on your teeth, it can form plaque. The bacteria present in plaque can form acids that can break down the enamel on the surface of your teeth. The enamel is the first layer of defense on your teeth. If plaque builds up it can continue to eat away at your teeth forming a cavity. A cavity is a hole in your tooth that can destroy your entire tooth if left untreated. It can cause major complications like a tooth abscess or even an infection.
What are the Common Signs of a Cavity?
There are a number of signs that can alert you that you may have a cavity. Below you will find some of the common symptoms.
- Toothache: If you have an ongoing ache in one or more of your teeth, it can indicate that you have a cavity. Pain is actually one of the most common symptoms of a cavity as your body is alerting you that there is something wrong. The aching may come on suddenly or as a result of something you eat. You may also feel pain or intense pressure when you chew food or bite down on something.
- Hot and Cold Sensitivity: If you eat something hot or cold and the sensitivity of the temperature lingers longer than usual, you may have a cavity. When the enamel on your tooth starts to wear away, it can affect the dentin in your teeth. This is the hard tissue layer right below the enamel. It is essentially your tooth’s second layer of defense. Dentin contains tiny hollow tubes, so when there isn’t enough enamel to protect the dentin it can cause sensitivity. This is because the foods that are hot and cold can stimulate the cells and nerve inside your tooth created a feeling of lingering sensitivity.
- Sensitivity to Sweets: Similar to a hot and cold sensitivity, a lingering sensitivity to sugary foods and drinks can also be a sign of tooth decay. This is also a result of damage to the enamel which often leads to a cavity.
- Tooth Stains: These may first appear as white spots and become darker as the tooth further decays. It may become brown or black, but it is generally visible on the surface of your tooth.
- Pits or Holes: If you notice that your teeth are staining and becoming darker, a hole or pit will likely follow if your cavity is untreated. While you may not be able to visibly see it, you may be able to feel it if you run your finger (wash your hands first!) or tongue over the tooth. However, some holes may not be seen or felt but you still may have a cavity. Keep a close eye on your teeth if there is discoloration and contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Treatment and Prevention Measures
If you have any concerns that you may have a cavity, contact your dentist as soon as possible. Attending your regular dental appointments every six months can help combat cavities and keep your mouth healthy and clean. Your dentist will take X-rays of your mouth which can stop existing cavities from getting worse and help prevent them in the first place.
The best way to combat cavities is to have a good oral care routine in place. Below you will find some prevention measures that should help keep you healthy and free from cavities.
- Regular dental cleanings (at least every six months)
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Floss your teeth at least once a day
- Drink at least eight glasses of water each day to help rinse your teeth and boost saliva flow
- Cut back on sugary foods and drinks (brush right after if you decide to indulge)
Orthodontists in Diamond Bar
If you are concerned you may have a cavity or need to schedule a checkup, contact Diamond Bar Dental Studio! Whatever your dental needs are Diamond Bar Dental Studio is equipped to take care of them. At Diamond Bar Dental, the focus of Dr. Cho and Dr. Jeon is to ensure that your dental health is completely taken care of once you leave their office. If you need to make an appointment, contact Diamond Bar Dental Studio and set up your first visit!
646 N. Diamond Bar Blvd.
Diamond Bar, CA 91765