Signs You Might Have A Cavity
A tooth cavity can be described as the decayed area of the teeth, which commonly starts as tiny holes/openings in the enamel, then progresses to more visible ones with time, especially when/if left unattended. The initial stages of a cavity may go unnoticed as the damage is too minor with little to no signs or symptoms. Most people only find out about the condition after experiencing increased tooth sensitivity and pain. These symptoms often only surface after the cavity has advanced. Understanding the main symptoms of a cavity, however small, can make the difference between a simple filling and losing the tooth or a more complex procedure such as a root canal or crown. Outlined below are some of the signs of a cavity to watch out for.
Pain and Tooth Sensitivity When You Bite Down
Do you experience sharp pain or sensitivity when trying to bite on something hard, say an apple? While it might not be possible to identify the exact source of the pain or sensitivity, you can surely tell what side it is coming from. Cavities make simple tasks that would have seemed natural, such as biting on a succulent apple, quite a task.
Food Particles or Floss Getting Trapped in Your Tooth
A cavity can and will be a magnet for food particles and floss. Do you always have to use a toothpick every time you eat? If you do, then there’s a greater chance you have a cavity or some other type of opening between your teeth. A common sign of a cavity is if your floss seems to shred or is getting stuck at the same place each time. Healthy teeth are naturally smooth and rounded, hence won’t cause your floss to shred. Be sure to see a dentist if your floss seems to shred.
You Can Feel A Rough Rugged Edge with Your Tongue
Continued decay on the affected tooth will cause the cavity to widen, exposing a rough and rugged edge that can be felt with your tongue. Depending on where the hole is, you should be able to feel the sharp and uneven edge sharper than other parts. Your tongue will be the first to tell when/if something is out of the ordinary and a reason to schedule an appointment with your dentist.
Sensitivity to Cold, Hot, Or Sweet Things
Having anything cold, hot, or sweet will most definitely set off a cavity, however small or hidden it is. Cavities, according to research, are the only thing that causes hypersensitivity to sweet, hot, or cold foods and drinks.
If Something Feels Off …
If you feel something to be off with your mouth but can’t put a finger to it, it might be a cavity. This can be in the form of increased sensitivity to certain foods or if your mouth is ‘too’ aware of what is going on in there. Your body will also try to fight off active tooth decay by throwing your sense of taste everywhere. If this seems to be the case, your dentist should be able to identify the issue and help fix it.
Halitosis (Bad Breath)
Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, mainly occurs when bacteria invade, spreads, and penetrates your tooth, causing it to start rotting. The presence of this bacteria accelerates the rate of decay and is the main reason for bad breath among many people. Bad taste is one of the first and common signs of bacteria invading your mouth and teeth; hence it shouldn’t be taken lightly. You will also notice a sticky/slimy substance on your teeth and tongue, especially before brushing. Make a point of seeing a dentist should you notice this or do have bad breath. It is unbelievably much easier and cheaper to contain/prevent bad breath and bacteria from your mouth than deal with it later on.
Do Cavities Go Away?
The sad bit about a cavity is that it will never go away on its own once it forms. There are also no do-it-yourself remedies to repair or fix the hole. Only a dentist can address the issue without making it worse.
However, it is possible to stop and even reverse the decaying process if the cavity is diagnosed early before any form of demineralization occurs. Demineralization causes the enamel to weaken, making it vulnerable to bacteria and decay. Reversing the erosion helps prevent the cavity from getting worse/forming, giving your teeth another chance. Proper oral hygiene coupled with regular visits to the dentist’s office is the only surefire way to prevent such issues.
Can Your Tongue Detect A Cavity?
While you might be able to feel a cavity with your tongue, it still depends on where the cavity is and the state it is in. Cavities far from the tongue’s reach will be impossible to detect. The same applies to small and minor cases of decay that might not have had a tangible impact on the tooth’s enamel. That said, your tongue will most definitely detect when something is out of the ordinary, say a sharp, rugged edge on your teeth, a cracked tooth, or a filling about to give out.
Can You See A Cavity?
Cavities can be almost impossible to detect, especially if hidden between teeth. Tiny, developing cavities may also be invisible to the naked eye. Most visible holes are however dark brown or black, with most happening along the gumlines, the back of your teeth, or the outer part of the tooth.
An X-ray makes it easier to detect cavities. It allows dentists to see cavities hidden deep between the teeth, at the bottom of the deep grooves, or on the chewing surface. Any cavity visible to the naked eye is more likely to be at an aggressive stage and might already have affected the nerve.
Can You Tell If A Cavity Has Reached the Nerve?
While it might be hard to know if a cavity has severed the nerve, a dental abscess confirms it. The abscess mainly forms when the nerve is infected, with the sores draining out of the tooth to the side of the gum tissues. In the absence of an abscess, the dentist will need to take a dental X-ray to make an accurate diagnosis. The X-ray enables him/her to see how deep the decay is and if it has touched the nerve. Too big a cavity is almost always a sure indicator that bacteria have already reached the nerve tissues as well. The infection causes fluid buildup within the same, causing swelling and can be pretty painful at times.
Get Checked Early
Do you seem to have one or all the signs and symptoms outlined above? Do you experience pain when chewing foods? Call your dentist immediately to book an appointment to see what the issue might be and get it fixed in a timely fashion. As mentioned earlier, it is easier to reverse the effects of a tiny cavity than it is, with a larger one.
Contact us at Collin’s Bay Dental to book an appointment or discuss your concerns today!