The vast majority of people have had a cavity at some point or will develop one in the future. In most cases, cavities are nothing to be alarmed about. You simply visit your dentist, and they repair the hole in your tooth with a filling so you go back to enjoying a healthy smile. But when should you see your dentist for cavity treatment? Are there any obvious symptoms of tooth decay? Let’s talk about these important questions and discuss how you can prevent cavities from forming in the first place.
Symptoms of Tooth Decay
Teeth have multiple layers. The outermost layer, the enamel, is insensitive. Therefore, when it first develops a cavity, you may have no symptoms at all. As the decay progresses, however, it reaches the second layer of a tooth — the dentin, which connects to the nerve in the tooth’s interior. At that point, you may begin to notice that a tooth is more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures or that there is pain when you put pressure on it. You may also notice a small hole in the tooth.
If the cavity remains untreated and it causes an infection in the tooth’s pulp, you may begin to experience a severe, throbbing toothache. The tooth could become darker in color and even develop an abscess. When decay becomes this severe, a filling is no longer an effective treatment. Root canal therapy, along with a crown, or an extraction may be necessary.
The best time to visit your dentist in Frisco for cavity treatment is before you even know you have a cavity. Through regular checkups, your oral health doctor can catch early signs of decay and repair it before it causes you pain. If you do begin to notice symptoms of a cavity, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Delaying only gives the decay the opportunity to worsen and lead to severe pain and perhaps even tooth loss.
Cavities form when sugar in food interacts with bacteria in your mouth, leading to plaque formation. Acids in plaque cling to teeth and soften the enamel. Prolonged exposure to these acids leads to cavities. Therefore, there are two key things you must do to prevent cavities:
- Maintain a thorough oral hygiene routine. Brushing, flossing, sipping plenty of water, and professional dental cleanings enable you to clear away plaque and bacteria before they have a chance to harm your teeth. Be sure to use fluoride toothpaste; fluoride is a mineral that helps to replace tiny bits of tooth enamel that get worn away throughout the day.
- Be mindful of what you eat and drink. Sugary and acidic foods and beverages attack teeth and encourage decay. Try to limit your consumption of things like candy, soda, sports drinks, and other goodies that might harm your smile.
Don’t let tooth decay wreck your smile! Preventing cavities and treating decay in its early stages will enable you to preserve your teeth for decades to come.
About the Author
Dr. Paresh Patel is an acclaimed general dentist with 15 years of experience in his field. He offers preventive and restorative services that aim to protect smiles against the ravages of tooth decay. If you have questions about how best to shield your smile from cavities, contact Dr. Patel’s team at 469-362-3150.