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Understanding the Symptoms of Cavities & What to Do

A cavity begins as a damaged area on a tooth’s surface enamel. Once developed, the damage can vary in degree (and depth). Symptoms of cavities emerge at different stages of damage and are an obvious alert that something is wrong. Cavities are also referred to as dental caries, and can be caused by a wide range of factors, from poor diet, to bad habits, to inferior oral maintenance.

Cavities are common in all age groups, including infants – in other words, anyone who has teeth. When a cavity remains untreated, it will get larger, and will start to affect the deeper layers of a tooth. At this point, the symptoms of cavities will materialize – like severe toothache, discomfort in the gums, even an infection outbreak. Waiting any longer for dental care seems nonsensical.

While professional dental care is required in order to repair cavities, preventive oral care is the key to avoiding cavities. That's why it's so important to have regular check-ups and cleanings.

What are the signs and symptoms of cavities?

Cavity symptoms vary depending on location and extent of damage. In the beginning, a small cavity may not even have any symptoms. However, as decay spreads, the symptoms will occur.

Toothache or tooth pain

A toothache or tooth pain is a common cavity symptom, particularly when the damaged tooth comes in contact with something. Gum pain below a damaged tooth can also signal a cavity.

Pain while chewing food

Pain while chewing could be a sign of a cracked tooth or tooth decay. As well, a sharp pain after biting something may be an indication that the nerve in the tooth is decaying, and even infected.

A bad taste in the mouth

Cavities are the ideal breeding ground for leftover food particles and bacteria. Bacteria causes bad mouth odour, and can be a warning sign of tooth decay, cavities, or the start of gum disease.

Sensitivity to temperature

With the onset of a cavity, there may be extra sensitivity to temperature. In fact, hot and cold liquids and foods could make for a painful experience. It’s the tooth nerve that reacts like that.

Noticeable holes in teeth

Even small cavities can be noticed. When obvious, a cavity can be seen. When not so obvious, cavities or tooth damage can be felt with the tongue. When there’s pain, it’s a good time to check.

Discoloration of the teeth

Some cavities appear on the tooth surface as actual holes. Others appear more like stains or spots on the tooth surface. Discoloration of the teeth is quite often a direct sign of evolving tooth decay.

Bleeding while brushing

There are times when cavities cause bleeding while brushing. This is because of gum irritation that’s related to a damaged nerve. Recurrent bleeding could also be a sign of a very big cavity.

Evidence of gum swelling

With a very deep cavity, the nerve could be damaged, and an infection could ensue. This will no doubt cause gum swelling, but not always with pain. This is the right time to contact the dentist.

What causes tooth decay?

Most people are not aware that a cavity is in the process of forming. That's why dentists recommend regular check-ups and regular cleanings. However, once there are symptoms of cavities, treatment will be required. By understanding the cause and nature of tooth decay, it’s also possible to adopt preventive measures that will diminish or totally prevent the onset.

Cavities are essentially caused by tooth decay. Over time, dental plaque coats the teeth mainly from eating sugars and starches. With poor oral maintenance, bacteria develop. Left unattended, plaque can harden around the gum line and turn into tartar. This is the beginning of decay.

When plaque is established, tooth enamel is compromised and slow erosion causes tiny holes to develop. Once the enamel is compromised, bacteria and acids can perpetuate tooth decay, moving closer and closer to the inner tooth. This is when tooth pulp and nerves begin to be affected.

Repairing and restoring cavity-prone teeth

When symptoms of cavities are apparent, it’s a good idea to see the dentist for further diagnosis. Clearly, the symptoms of cavities signal a problem – it’s the right time for repair and restoration. At the Mackenzie Dental Centre, Dr. Lloyd Pedvis addresses the symptoms of cavities using a number of procedures and treatments, each intended to provide effective, long-term restoration.

Some of the solutions to cavities:

AMALGAM-FREE FILLINGS are 100% mercury free. They are cosmetically appealing, matching natural tooth colour. AMALGAM-FREE FILLINGS actually restore a tooth rather than "filling" the tooth. Dr. Pedvis will also remove existing amalgam fillings and replace them with amalgam-free.

DIAGNOdent (CAVITY DETECTION AID) helps with the early detection of cavities. DIAGNOdent can identify very small cavities that are emerging and may not be visible to the naked eye. This new technology allows for a more accurate and precise diagnosis, even during a routine exam.

When it comes to cavities, its most important that they are acknowledged and repaired as soon as you begin to notice any discomfort. Restore your mouth to a healthy state and contact Dr. Lloyd Pedvis to book an appointment today. 

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