Tooth decay is a widespread dental issue and can impact your smile’s overall health and natural structure. Various things can cause cavities, so knowing the signs and symptoms of tooth decay can help you receive timely dental treatment.
Treatment of developing cavities at an early point can prevent cavities from progressing. If allowed to progress, dental cavities can cause the need for either a root canal or could lead to tooth loss.
What Are Dental Cavities?
Cavities, or tooth decay, are caused when your tooth enamel erodes, and bacteria have been allowed to infect the tooth. Plaque and certain foods can eventually erode past the outer shell of tooth enamel. Once it enters the dentin layer, these cavities can progress quickly and become dangerous to the health of your tooth.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Decay
Your dentist can often detect one or more cavities at your regular dental examination. In many instances, you will need a dental x-ray to confirm dental cavities or check for cavities that is not seen by the naked eye.
Cavities can form on all sides of a tooth and are most common on back teeth and in the spaces between them, as it may be more challenging to keep those areas clean.
What Does A Cavity Look Like?
Visible Discoloration or Presence Of Dark Spots
When a cavity starts to develop, it can cause visible dark spots on the tooth’s surface. At first, these spots may appear like it is just simple staining.
However, with time, the dark area gets more extensive. This darkened area is a signal that cavities are present. In some instances of tooth decay, cavities can even look like white spots on the tooth.
Tooth Sensitivity to Hot or Cold
As the tooth decay continues to travel into the tooth, the dentin will become exposed. The dentin is more porous than the enamel and can cause issues with sensitivity very quickly. You may begin to notice that your teeth have become more sensitive.
Typically, you will be able to pinpoint the tooth with sensitivity issues. Whenever you drink (or eat) something hot or cold, you may notice a surge of tooth pain or discomfort specific to one tooth. This discomfort may be a sign that there is a cavity present.
Holes or Craters on Teeth
The bacteria present with a cavity will eventually erode the tooth structure, causing small pitting and holes in the enamel. These holes are a sign that a dental cavity has formed, and you will likely need dental fillings to restore lost tooth structure.
Your dentist can easily remove the dental caries, and the new dental fillings will fill in the visible hole in your tooth.
Chronic Unexplained Bad Breath and Unpleasant Taste
Cavities are caused by bacteria and their byproducts that have been allowed to break down a tooth. The bacteria present in your mouth produce waste that can contribute to chronic bad breath and the presence of an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
If you are aware of a persistent bad breath that is difficult to make go away, you should visit your dentist for further evaluation.
Pain and Discomfort
The tooth that has a cavity may end up causing you pain if left untreated. You may feel a sharp, shocking pain when biting down or chewing.
Some patients find difficulty brushing or flossing these areas where cavities are present due to discomfort or sensitivity. This sensitivity is caused by dentin exposure and affects the nerve inside the tooth.
Presence Of Swelling or Bleeding Gums
When the cavity is present along the gum line, dental caries can impact the surrounding gingival tissue. This can result in bleeding or swollen gums, especially upon brushing or flossing. Bleeding gums can also mean the presence of gingivitis.
Bleeding or swollen gums are a sign of poor dental hygiene maintenance and oral health. It is best to seek out dental care as soon as possible.
No Symptoms At All
When a cavity is just starting, there may be no symptoms present. Most patients will not even know they have a cavity until they go to the dentist for an examination and x-rays.
Avoiding cavities in the first place should be the #1 goal, as it prevents the need for any invasive dentistry.
The most common causes of cavities include:
- Poor dental hygiene maintenance
- Regular snacking and eating before bedtime
- Sugary Drinks or eating sugary foods or acidic beverages
- Bedtime infant feeding
- Inadequate Fluoride Intake
- Dry mouth
- Worn or broken dental restorations (like an older silver amalgam)
- Persistent heartburn and acid indigestion
To avoid dental cavities, do your best to maintain a good dental hygiene regimen and let your dentist know if you are experiencing any dental cavity symptoms.
The earlier your dentist can diagnose the presence of a cavity, the better your chances are of only needing a simple dental filling rather than a more invasive procedure (like root canal treatment or tooth extraction).
Depending on the extent of dental cavities, there are different types of dental treatment offered by Las Vegas dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS to restore and enhance your smile. Possible treatments for dental cavities:
- Dental Filling – are used to treat small cavities and require removing the affected portion of the natural tooth and replacing it with filling materials such as a tooth-colored filling material (composite resin). This tooth colored filling material will look natural.
- Dental Crown is used to treat larger cavities and requires removing the decayed portion of the tooth and reshaping the remaining natural tooth structure to fit a crown.
- Root Canal Treatment – If the cavity affects the tooth’s nerve, root canal treatment will be necessary. Root canal treatment involves removing the tooth’s nerve and sealing the canals to prevent food and saliva entering. They are typically followed with a dental crown to protect the tooth.
Maintaining good dental hygiene is crucial to maintaining your oral health. Brushing twice a day along with regular flossing can have a positive impact on your smile and improve the health of your mouth. Regularly rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash can also help reduce bacteria and plaque.
It is also important to maintain visits to the dentist every six months for both a professional cleaning and a dental examination. By being proactive with your dental health and keeping up with six-month dental appointments (along with x-rays), you can be sure to prevent cavities and diagnose them in early stages.
A simple dental filling is an easy fix to restore your smile. The most common dental problem is also easy to stop in its tracks.
Schedule Your No-Cost Full Mouth Reconstruction Or Smile Makeover Consultation Today In Las Vegas!
If you have dental health concerns that need to be addressed or are ready to restore and beautify your smile, contact us today at 702-458-2929 to book your no-cost full mouth reconstruction or smile makeover consultation with Las Vegas Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS.
We cannot wait to help you with your smile makeover or full mouth reconstruction to create the smile of your dreams in Summerlin, Henderson, and Las Vegas, NV.
Marielaina Perrone, DDS, is a highly experienced and dedicated dental professional passionate about delivering exceptional patient care. With over 20 years of experience in the dental industry, Dr. Perrone is widely regarded as a leading authority in her field, with a reputation for providing innovative solutions and personalized care to her patients.