Have no doubt: 7 serious cavity symptoms you need to look out for
Cavities are one of the most common dental issues people face. In fact, more than 91 percent of adults have cavities in their permanent teeth.
Though regular cleanings and good oral hygiene practices can help keep tooth decay to a minimum, it can still happen. The sooner you get help with your cavities the better, but how can you tell when it’s time to head to the dentist?
Watch for these easy-to-spot cavity symptoms and contact your dentist if you notice even a single one.
1. Persistent Toothache
Nothing is more inconvenient and annoying than a toothache that just won’t go away. Well, except for a toothache that won’t go away for absolutely no reason.
Teeth start aching when the nerves and tissues inside the tooth and gums get inflamed. Though toothache can be a sign of other issues like an underlying infection or food stuck in your gums, they’re often a sign of cavities.
Remember, cavities take time to form. At first, most people won’t feel any pain. This means if you have a toothache that won’t go away no matter what you try, the cavity is already there and doing damage.
Call your dentist immediately to schedule an appointment.
2. Pain When You Chew
Toothaches are one of the most common signs of cavities, but many other people often experience pain or discomfort when they chew.
Think of it this way: cavities create inflammation to your tooth’s pulp. The pulp acts as the main nerve for the tooth, telling you when something is wrong. When you chew, you put pressure on the tooth and the pulp inside.
If the area gets inflamed or infected, you’ll experience a mild to sharp pain anytime you put pressure on that tooth. You might be able to chew on the other side of your mouth and eat without discomfort, but you still need to see your dentist as soon as possible.
Ignoring the discomfort is an easy way to do serious damage to the tooth, putting you at risk for a more painful infection and more costly dental treatments in the future.
3. Visible Pits on the Surface of the Tooth
Cavities are a form of tooth decay. This means the structure of the tooth itself is no longer as strong as it was. But those cavities typically start on the outside of your tooth.
Sounds worrisome, right? It is, but it also means you may be able to see signs of a cavity forming before it does serious damage.
Smile in front of a mirror and study the surface of your teeth. If you see pitting or changes in the shape of the tooth, you could have a cavity.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist and let them inspect the area. If the cavity is minor, it will be easier for them to fix the damage and keep it from spreading in the future.
4. Bad Breath
No one likes having bad breath, but sometimes, brushing just isn’t enough to get rid of that strange smell. If you’re finding that brushing and rinsing with mouthwash doesn’t make much of a difference, you could have a cavity or two.
Cavities and tooth decay happen because of a buildup of bacteria in your mouth. Unfortunately, more bacteria can collect once the cavity forms, worsening the problem.
If you’ve noticed a change in how your breath smells or your loved ones have told you that you have bad breath, pay attention. Make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
There are many different causes of bad breath and your dentist will be able to tell you what’s causing it. If it’s a cavity, they’ll help you get rid of the bacteria once and for all. If it’s not, they’ll be able to help you get your great smelling breath back.
5. You Have Stained and Discolored Teeth
Tooth decay can manifest in different ways, but the most visible is discoloration across the tooth’s surface. Take a moment to look at your teeth in detail. Use a flashlight to light up the darker parts of your mouth.
Do any of your teeth look discolored? Do you see patches of yellow, black, or white stains on your teeth? If so, you could have a cavity.
Keep in mind that some discoloration is normal especially if you drink coffee or tea. But if the discoloration changes on any of your teeth and looks dramatically different than the others, make an appointment.
6. Sensitivity When Eating Certain Foods
Believe it or not, it’s possible to have a cavity without experiencing pain when you chew except when you eat certain types of foods. For most people, this includes hot and extremely cold dishes, sweets, and incredibly chewy foods.
You may even notice sensitivity when drinking anything that's not at room temperature.
If you feel any type of tooth sensitivity when eating certain foods, don’t just stop eating those items. Call your dentist.
Once the cavities get fixed and the inflammation goes down, you should be able to enjoy the foods you love without pain.
7. Noticeable Holes in the Enamel
Pits and changes in the tooth’s shape are a great way to spot cavities as they form. But what about cavities that are already doing serious damage?
Depending on where the cavity is, you may be able to see the hole in your tooth right in the mirror. Look for small brown or black holes along the surface of the enamel.
If you see any, it’s time to head to your dentist. Those small discolored spots are a surefire sign that you have a cavity forming.
Have You Noticed Any of These Cavity Symptoms?
If you’ve noticed even one of these cavity symptoms, don’t wait to see if things change on their own. Make an appointment with your dentist and let them take care of the cavity before it gets too large.
The sooner you get help for your teeth, the better off your smile will be.
Whether you’re worried about a cavity or just want to prevent tooth decay in the first place, contact our office and schedule an appointment. Our team specializes in helping patients who struggle with anxiety in the dental chair get the treatments they need to keep their smiles pearly-white.