Cavities, or dental caries, are one of the most common health problems faced around the world, second only to the common cold. If not treated, cavities can cause infection, toothache and ultimately total tooth loss. Wondering if you have one? Here are five symptoms to watch out for:
1. Bad Breath
If tooth decay is ignored, bacteria will proliferate, causing bad breath. If you are brushing and flossing regularly, yet still notice you have bad breath, you need a check up to see if there may be other issues.
2. Bad Taste in your Mouth
If you notice a chronic bad taste in your mouth, get your teeth checked out as it may be a sign that a cavity needs to be cleaned and filled.
3. Tooth Sensitivity or Pain
A sensitive or painful tooth, even if it's only when exposed to hot or cold, can mean a cavity. Sensitivity and pain are usually evidence the cavity has progressed.
4. Dark or White Spots
When cavities have progressed, they can become visible to the eye, appearing as a dark or white spot on the infected tooth.
5. Holes in Your Teeth
Sometimes you can see a hole on top of the tooth or feel it with your tongue. This is not a good sign and you need to schedule an appointment right away for treatment.
6. Pus, Swelling or Extreme Pain
These symptoms may indicate an abscessed tooth. The pus is caused by a bacterial infection inside the tooth from untreated tooth decay. It can cause fever, pain and swollen glands and requires immediate medical attention as it will spread throughout your jaw.
The best time to catch a cavity is in the early stages, when there are few, if any, symptoms. Early cavities can sometimes be "healed" or remineralized with fluoride, good oral hygiene, and a diet low in acid and sugar. That's why a twice-yearly dental cleaning and exam is important. Unlike the common cold, your cavity will not get better on its own –it will only worsen, becoming more painful, time consuming and expensive to treat, and more likely to impact the integrity of your tooth.
Good oral hygiene, which includes brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, and having regular dental cleaning and check ups, will keep you cavity free. Is it time for your dental appointment? Call us at 919.755.3450 or click the Book Now link in the top right corner to schedule.