5 Signs You Have a Cavity and How to Prevent One

5 Signs You Have a Cavity and How to Prevent One

Mar 01, 2023

Healthy teeth help maintain a beautiful smile and good oral and overall well-being. Unfortunately, despite the numerous innovations in dentistry, cavities remain a key concern among millions of children and adults. According to the CDC, about 30% of adults in the U.S. have untreated cavities.

When not treated promptly, cavities eventually lead to tooth loss and other serious complications. In this article, let’s learn more about cavities, their signs, and how to prevent them from keeping your teeth healthy.

What is a cavity?

A dental cavity is a pit or hole that forms in your tooth. They form when acids from bacteria and plaque break down your tooth’s enamel causing decay. The decay eats up the tooth structure permanently, causing holes or spaces.

If left untreated, the decay continues to eat up the tooth’s structure, causing deeper cavities and significantly weakening your tooth. Eventually, it can lead to tooth loss, tooth abscess, or a serious infection that gets into the bloodstream to cause serious health complications like heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

That said, you must seek prompt treatment if you think you may have a cavity. Visiting our dentist for routine dental exams and cleanings in Raynham, MA, can help detect and treat cavities promptly.

Signs of Cavities and Tooth Decay

Generally, tooth decay and cavities progress gradually, usually showing few to no signs initially. However, several signs can indicate tooth decay or a cavity forming. These include:

  • Sensitivity to heat, cold, and sugar

When bacteria acids destroy the enamel (the hardest outer surface of the tooth that protects it from external factors), it exposes internal tooth structures like the dentin and pulp. This makes the dentin and the tooth’s nerves sensitive to heat, cold, acids, and sometimes sugar.

Even if there are no visible holes in the tooth, it could be a sign that bacteria have begun destroying the enamel. Visiting our best dentist in Raynham, MA, right away can help repair the tooth, prevent further damage, and avoid unnecessary treatments like dental crowns and root canals.

  • Tooth pain when biting down

If you feel pain when brushing or chewing food in a specific tooth, your tooth might have begun to decay. Fortunately, you may still have a chance to save the tooth with a dental filling before the damage progresses.

  • Persistent toothache

If you have persistent or ongoing tooth pain that is mild or severe, there’s a higher chance you have tooth decay. Persistent pain in a single tooth is the most common symptom of tooth decay. In most cases, ongoing pain indicates that decay has reached the tooth’s pulp, exposing the nerves. Prompt treatment is essential to relieve the pain and stop the infection to save the tooth.

  • Dark spots or staining on the tooth

At first, tooth decay can cause white spots on the tooth. As the decay progresses, the spots turn brown or black. Later, cavities or holes in these spots. You might have cavities in these areas that you might not see.

  • Holes or pits in the tooth

Holes on your tooth are evident signs that you have a cavity. Initially, the holes or pits might be tiny, and you might not even see them. As decay progresses, the cavities and holes get bigger. Make an appointment with your dentist immediately if you notice a hole in your tooth.

How to prevent a cavity

Fortunately, cavities and tooth decay are highly preventable. Below are practical tips to protect your teeth and keep them healthy:

  • Brush twice daily for at least two minutes at a time.
  • Use soft and non-abrasive oral products.
  • Floss daily.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and have regular fluoride treatments.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Limit or avoid acidic, sugary, sticky, and hard items.
  • Visit your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings.
  • Get dental sealants.
  • Clean your dentures, aligners, and other restorations every day.

Do You Need Cavity Treatment?

For more information about cavities and effective treatments to restore your dental health, contact Raynham Dental Group, the office of Dr. Michael Scanlon, to schedule your dental consultation with our experienced dentist near you.

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