How to Tell If You Have an Untreated Cavity

Woman with a dental cavity and painNobody likes getting a cavity.  Going to the dentist, getting numb, and sitting in the chair while he or she repairs it is probably not anyone’s idea of a fun time.  However, if left untreated, a cavity (also known as dental decay) can result in serious tooth damage or loss, damage to your facial bones, and even an infection that can spread to other areas. Some people have actually died as a result of dental infections that progressed to the brain!

Thus, getting cavities treated as soon as possible is an important part of maintaining your health.  But how can you tell when you are getting a cavity?  Here are some things to look for; note that not all of them will be present when you have a cavity, and it is important that you see your dental health professional for regular cleaning and inspection of your teeth.

Cavity symptoms:

Toothaches.  If your teeth are hurting, it may indicate presence of cavities.  Although other things can cause a toothache—and, not all cavities will result in tooth pain—if your tooth hurts, see your dentist as soon as you can.

Pain when eating foods that are sweet, A break in the enamel caused by a cavity will allow the nerve in the tooth to react painfully. This is a very common sign that you have a tooth that needs repair.

Pain when eating or drinking hot or cold foods and beverages.  Normally, the covering over your teeth keeps them from being overly sensitive to temperature; however, as a cavity progresses, you may begin to experience mild to severe discomfort from temperatures at either extreme.

Pain when biting.  Your teeth are supposed to hold up to the strain that comes from biting and chewing.  If one of them begins to hurt during normal everyday activities such as eating, it may be a sign of a cracked tooth or a cavity.

Irregularities or discoloration in the tooth surface.  A cavity is by definition a hole in your tooth.  If you notice that the surface of a tooth is beginning to develop a hole or a pit, or is changing color, that may be the beginning of a cavity.  You should get it checked out as quickly as you can.

Esthetic treatment choices

While having cavities treated is not fun, it’s even worse to have a cavity that does not get treated.  By watching for these and other symptoms, you can help ensure your smile remains healthy and functional. With today's esthetic materials you wont even know you your tooth has been repaired. If you ever do need to get that cavity repaired Dr. Shapiro can make the whole process as easy as it can possible be, probably a lot easier then you think.

Please contact us if you have any questions about your oral health.

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