Dental Cavities: What To Do If You Have One
SIGNS OF A CAVITY
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 the enamel and can develop into a big problem if left untreated. If you know the symptoms of a cavity, you'll know to schedule an appointment to get it fixed before the cavity becomes a bigger problems needing a root canal or other lengthy procedure. A great way to detect cavities in the early stages is by getting cleanings and exams twice a year at your dentist's office in Columbus, OH. With advanced equipment like digital x-rays, we can assess an existing cavity as well as weakened areas of enamel that are at high risk. However, if you're experiencing symptoms of a cavity, like pain or sensitivity, you should try to get an earlier appointment.
NOT TOO HOT AND NOT TOO COLD
Do you quote Goldilocks every time you drink or eat? Tooth sensitivity is one of the earliest signs of a cavity. It's usually a sharp jolt of pain in your tooth whenever you want to enjoy a food or drink that’s particularly sweet, hot, or cold. This happens because when you get a cavity, the decay in your enamel allows irritants access to the dental nerve. The nerve is triggered by hot and cold temperatures and it is an early symptom of a cavity that you need to have treated. If you aren't able to enjoy a hot cup of coffee without the pain of tooth sensitivity, schedule an appointment for a dental exam.
I DON'T NEED TO CHEW ON THAT SIDE
When it's painful to chew on a certain tooth, 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 have a cavity or other dental problem. You might avoid going to the dentist if the pain isn't too bad. Even though some level of decay may already be present, treatment can help you avoid further damage.
A cavity can change the color of the infected tooth or cause the development of 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, enamel discoloration is a big clue that you need a dentist. Even though you may not concerned about discoloration affecting the appearance of your smile, you should be worried about your health. Make an appointment at your dentist in Columbus, OH to get enamel discoloration diagnosed and treated.
A VISIBLE HOLE
Eventually, you might see a hole or pits in your enamel as a result of a cavity. If you feel or see a hole in a tooth, it's definitely time to have it checked out by a professional. Don't wait until your next cleaning. The cavity needs to be treated while there's still a chance to save the tooth. If not, an extraction may be recommended to remove the tooth before it has a chance to infect nearby teeth. Without treatment, the infection can spread to your bloodstream and impact your overall health.
SO HOW DID I GET A CAVITY?
Both your mouth and stomach have beneficial and harmful bacteria. Harmful bacteria, usually left by high sugar drinks and food, when you don't remove it fast enough, becomes plaque. The acid in these plaque formations erode the enamel making it thin and weak. In time, a hole (cavity) develops in the enamel. Since the molars have lots of grooves and crevices that give bacteria a hiding place, cavities often develop here. One way to avoid cavities is to limit your consumption of drinks and food that are highly acidic or have a high sugar content (like citrus juices and soda). Flossing and brushing properly also helps to minimize the chance of developing cavities. Patients who do get cavities a lot ask about proactive treatments like professional fluoride rinses and dental sealants.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR CAVITIES
If you make an appointment at DentalWorks in Columbus, OH with symptoms of a cavity or other concerns, we will usually begin with a basic examination to check your oral health. We may need digital x-rays to diagnose the problem and see if the decay has spread. When the cavity is diagnosed, your dentist can create a plan for treatment. Typically, 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 so it blends seamlessly. If a filling is not enough to cover the cavity, we may suggest a custom onlay, inlay, or dental crown. Root canal therapy may be necessary if the decay has reached the dental pulp.
Visiting your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and exam is the best way to prevent cavities. However, if you haven't been in a while or you are concerned that you may have a cavity, go to a dentist in Columbus, OH. Don't suffer from sensitivity, pain, and toothaches; we will work hard to make your appointment quick while getting you the right treatment. For patients with anxiety about visiting the dentist, 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.