A cavity, also called tooth decay, is one of the most common dental conditions and can impact your teeth’ overall health and structure. Various reasons cause a cavity, so looking for the signs can help receive treatment right away. Early cavities treatment can prevent the decay from worsening, causing the need for either a root canal or complete extraction.
Common Signs of Cavities
These are some of the most common signs of a cavity:
- Visible Discoloration or Dark Spots
When tooth decay begins to develop, it can cause dark spots on the tooth’s surface. Initially, these spots may look like simple staining, and you may assume you just have minor tooth discoloration. However, over time, the dark spot grows, indicating tooth decay. For some people, cavities can even look like white spots or light marks on the tooth.
- Holes or Craters on Teeth
The bacteria present with a cavity eventually eat into the tooth, causing small holes and pits in the enamel. These holes are a sign that tooth decay has formed, and you probably need a filling.
- Sensitivity to Hot or Cold
As cavities continue to invade the tooth, the dentin becomes exposed. The dentin is more porous and can create issues with sensitivity. You may experience teeth sensitivity or that one or two teeth, in particular, have issues with sensitivity. Whenever you eat or drink something hot or cold, you may notice a sharp pain specific to one tooth. This may be a sign of a cavity.
- Pain and Discomfort
The tooth that has a decay may be causing you pain. You may find it painful to bite down. Other patients find it hard to brush or floss certain areas because of pain or sensitivity.
- Bad Breath and Unpleasant Taste
Tooth decay is caused by a bacterial infection that has been allowed to affect a tooth. Just like all other organisms, the bacteria in your mouth produce waste that can result in bad breath and a rotten taste in your mouth. If you experience persistent bad breath that is difficult to hide, it may be time for a dental checkup.
- Swelling or Bleeding Gums
When the decay is near the gum line, the tooth’s infection can impact the surrounding soft tissue, resulting in bleeding or swollen gums. Bleeding gums can also indicate gingivitis, so a dental office trip is warranted.
Can Dental Cavities Be Prevented?
To avoid cavities, do your best to learn and perform good oral habits and consult your dentist if you are experiencing any symptoms. The earlier you catch a decay, the better your chances are of only needing a dental filling rather than a more invasive procedure.