Shockingly, of adults ages 20 to 64, 92% have had a cavity. This means dental cavities are the most chronic disease in the world! This is primarily due to the amount of sugar in the diets of many people.
Does tooth decay typically hurt? When should you schedule an appointment with Dr. Sulken or Dr. Kinn? Read on to learn how to tell if you have possible tooth decay, and how to handle it.
Spotting A Cavity
Tooth decay is caused by the surface of your tooth being damaged by bacteria and acid. This ultimately results in what we know as dental caries, or a cavity, which is essentially a hole in the tooth. Cavities start on the enamel but can continue on to the inner layer of your tooth, which is called dentin.
At times, you may notice tooth decay if your tooth has a dark spot. But this doesn’t always indicate a cavity. Occasionally, such dark spots could be only stains due to food or drinks.
In other cases, a spot may not be visible even if a cavity is present. Dark spots might also be due to some medications or a sign of an injury. Ideally, you should visit one of our dentists for a dental exam if you suspect you may have a cavity.
Cavities and Tooth Pain
Feeling pain from a cavity can depend on how far along the decay is. There typically won’t be any pain when the decay is in the enamel layer of the tooth, but the pain will likely start as the cavity goes deeper into the tooth. Pain or sensitivity to hot or cold can happen after the tooth decay reaches the dentin layer.
You should always get any tooth pain checked by your dentist as it might lead to a serious infection or the loss of a tooth. The sooner Dr. Kinn or Dr. Sulken is able to treat a cavity, the more likely it will be easier to treat.
Your dentist will search for cavities by finding spots on your teeth that are soft. He will also take x-rays to find tooth decay that may be out of sight, like those in spaces between teeth.
Tooth Decay Prevention
Cavities are caused by foods such as fruit, candy, cake, bread, and other carbohydrates or sugar that stay on your teeth. Bacteria that are present in your mouth break these foods down, changing them into acid. When combined with the saliva in your mouth it becomes plaque, which will cling to the teeth. It’s this plaque that will start to eat away at your tooth’s enamel.
To prevent tooth decay from starting, it’s best to avoid too many sugary or high-carb drinks and foods and brush and floss your teeth twice a day to get rid of any plaque that is on your teeth.
Don’t Put It Off! Get in Touch With Your Dentist!
There isn’t any way to be certain you have a cavity without going to the dentist. Cavities will only get more serious as time goes on. The more you put it off, the more damage is done. If you have any concerns about your teeth, make an appointment with our dental practice as soon as you can.