Cavities are openings in the teeth that indicate permanent damage. The enamel can erode due to various factors, including a sugary or starchy diet, poor oral hygiene habits, and bacterial buildup.
Anyone can have cavities. The longer you wait to treat them, the worse they can get, and that can even lead to tooth loss. Your best defence is an excellent dental care routine.
The signs and symptoms vary. At first, you might not feel anything. You may only start to feel discomfort or pain once the cavity progresses. Here are some factors to look out for.
Cavities cause teeth to discolor, and you’ll notice that the pigmentation is darker than ordinary tooth stains. Stains can affect several teeth at once, but with cavities, the discoloration is limited to the affected tooth. If you see a single tooth that has become brown or black, chances are high that it’s a cavity.
A cavity doesn’t progress quickly, so if there’s a dark spot in any of your teeth, it can be due to infection and is a sign that holes are soon to form on your teeth. Holes may even be present already, but they can be tough to see. Staining is one sign that the harmful bacteria have reached the enamel.
Sensitivity is another sign of a cavity. As the harmful bacteria thin and erode the enamel, the layer below it, called “the dentin,” becomes more exposed.
The dentin contains tiny tubes that connect to the nerves in the teeth. Eating anything hot or cold can stimulate the nerves and cause sensitivity.
If the sensitivity occurs rarely, then it may not indicate a problem. But if it persists and worsens over time, then it could be due to tooth decay, which shouldn't be ignored. The lingering discomfort can signal the start of a cavity.
If a cavity has already progressed and is left untreated, chances are it'll also cause ongoing or persistent toothaches. Depending on the extent of the damage, the pain can emerge even without apparent cause.
At first, you may feel it when you bite on anything sweet or when your teeth are exposed to changing temperatures. But eventually, the discomfort can arise suddenly and linger.
Even if you’re eating soft food, the pain can emerge as long as you’re biting down. See your dentist immediately so they can get you out of pain.
This is the surest sign that you have a cavity. The presence of a hole in your tooth or teeth means that the cavity has already advanced, and you may need dental fillings or root canal therapy to treat the infection.
You'll know if there’s a hole in your mouth by running your tongue over the tooth or looking at the mirror. So, if you see a hole in any of your teeth, contact the dental office immediately to schedule a professional hygiene cleaning.
The hole must be cleaned to get rid of the bacteria and prepare your tooth for the appropriate procedure to close it and keep debris from penetrating.
When you eat and feel that a piece of debris always gets stuck in a tooth, that can be because of a hole. The deeper the hole, the harder it is to remove the deposit, which can cause further discomfort and even trigger toothaches.
Eventually, eating can become uncomfortable as you try to avoid the spot where the hole is. And you may also end up limiting your options to non-hard or non-crunchy foods, which, in turn, can reduce variation in your diet and keep your body from receiving the nutrition it needs.
Cavities impact the appearance, function, and health of your teeth. The best cure for this is prevention, which includes routine dental visits and a solid oral hygiene routine.
It’s never too late to seek help from a dental professional. Get your teeth examined, and together with your dentist, devise a custom treatment plan to treat, get rid of cavities, and keep them from coming back.
If you need to see a dentist in Winnipeg, MB, we invite you to contact us at Aqua Dental Wellness.
Our dental team has been serving the Winnipeg community for over 30 years, and it's an honor to continue looking after generations of smiles. We're pleased to assist you and your family with your dental care needs. Let’s keep your smile free from cavities.