Tooth decay is a common dental condition that affects a large number of Americans each year. Cavities aren’t good news for your oral and overall health, plus they can also impact your tooth’s entire structure. There are several causes of tooth decay. When looking for signs and symptoms of decay, this article will help answer your question, “How to tell if you have a cavity?”
Early treatment of cavities is crucial for your well-being as it can prevent further damage. Keep reading to learn about tooth decay and when to see your dentist.
What is a cavity?
When mouth bacteria and food debris accumulate on the tooth surface, they can form a sticky deposit called plaque. Dental plaque contains bacteria that produce acids that are powerful enough to eat away the tooth enamel.
Following a good oral hygiene routine that includes regular brushing and flossing can help eliminate plaque. If plaque is not removed or allowed to linger in your mouth, it can damage your teeth and form cavities.
A cavity can develop an opening in your tooth. If you’re not up for early treatment, things can worsen, and you may end up with significant complications like an abscessed tooth or infection.
How To Tell If You Have A Cavity
Here are some of the most common signs that will help you know if you have a cavity.
1. Black Spot on Tooth
The first sign that can tell if you have a cavity is a dark spot on or between the teeth. In the initial stage, you may only think of this discoloration as minor staining. But with time, these dark spots can become darker, blacker, and larger. This is a clear signal that you have tooth decay. Sometimes, instead of dark marks, you may have white or lighter toned spots on the tooth.
2. Pain and Discomfort
If you have a severe toothache and it’s giving you sharp pain when biting down, it’s easy to tell you’ve a cavity. For some, brushing or flossing can become a difficult job, and you may experience discomfort or sensitivity. This all happens due to decay which exposes the tooth dentin and impacts the nerve inside your tooth.
3. Bad Breath and Taste in Mouth
Tooth decay is the result of a bacterial infection that was allowed to linger in your mouth and has now affected your tooth. The mouth bacteria can cause bad breath and a foul taste in the mouth. If constant bad breath is an ongoing issue and it’s becoming difficult to cover it, you should see a dentist near you.
Book an appointment with Pearl Shine Dental and get early treatment.
4. Hot or Cold Sensitivity
Sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks is here to tell you may have a cavity.
When tooth enamel begins eroding, the impact can also go down to dentin which is a layer beneath the enamel. This hard tissue layer is full of tiny void tubes.
The absence of an appropriate layer of enamel gives a free hand to the hot, cold, and acidic foods to trigger the nerves and cells inside your tooth. This activates the sensitivity you experience.
5. A Hole or Crater on Your Tooth
If the white or dark spot on your tooth aggravates, a hole or crater may form on your tooth. You can see it when standing in front of the mirror or feel it by running your tongue over the tooth surface.
Some craters or openings aren’t easy to identify, especially those between your teeth or cracks. But the ache and sensitivity can still be felt in the surrounding of a cavity.
If a crater or hole is visible on your tooth, visit your dentist. This is a prominent sign that you’ve cavity.
6. Swelling or Bleeding Gums
When tooth decay occurs close to the gum line, the tooth infection can affect the soft tissue around it. The result can be inflamed or bleeding gums when you brush or floss. Sometimes, bleeding gums can also indicate something severe such as gingivitis. So, it’s best to see your dentist.
When to see a dentist
If you suspect you may have a cavity, be ready to sit in a dental chair. If you’re experiencing persistent tooth pain or dark spots on your teeth, here are some more reasons for an appointment.