The biggest concern patients have when they visit the dentist is the presence of cavities. They are known to be painful reasons to have to make another trip back to the dentist. It is more often the stress of a possible cavity that causes anxiety about dentist appointments rather than the appointment itself. Sometimes a sensitive spot in the mouth can cause worry and bring up the question, can you feel a cavity?
Stages Of Cavities
As it turns out, all cavities are not created equal. Cavities start out as disruptions when bacteria feeds on the sugars in the mouth. Acid is produced in order to fight off the bacteria, which causes a dental cavity if it is not cleaned off quickly enough. The acid eats at the enamel on a tooth and does not stop until it is washed away.
When that acid first starts to wear off the enamel of the tooth and form a cavity, it can actually be reversed with proper care. This is considered the early stage of a cavity and regular brushing and fluoride can help restore the enamel of the tooth in order to reverse the effects of tooth decay. Since there are no nerves in the enamel of a tooth, the early stages of a cavity are not painful at all and usually do not feel any different.
If not managed properly, the cavity cannot be repaired and will actually get worse. When the cavity deepens and reaches the soft part of the tooth it can begin to feel sensitive and eventually painful. When eating hot or cold foods there may be a sharp pain that can become quite disruptive.
Eventually, cavities can actually become visible if not taken care of. They appear as small holes or dark colored stains on the surface of the tooth. When cavities reach this point they can become extremely painful not only when eating, but all the time. This is when cavities cannot be avoided and need to be taken care of professionally immediately. The most basic treatment for a cavity is a filling, but the deeper a cavity, the more extensive the treatment may need to become. Cavities that have caused extreme damage to a tooth may need a crown or root canal to relieve all of the pain and put a stop to the decay.
Other Signs of Cavities:
When bacteria accumulates in the mouth and a cavity forms due to decay, it can produce a pungent odor. If you are brushing and flossing regularly but still seem to suffer from bad breath, it may be the sign of a cavity and a visit to the dentist should be scheduled.
Another result of the decay is a bad taste in the mouth. Gargle with mouthwash regularly and if the bad taste continues to return, it is likely that you have a cavity and should schedule an appointment with the dentist.
The most serious cavities can cause pus to form around a tooth. This is the sign of an abscess and can lead to a number of other medical issues. Contact your dentist immediately if you notice any pus, as you may need to be put on an antibiotic to kill the bacteria.
The best way to avoid the pain of a cavity is to avoid cavities all together. That means brushing and flossing regularly and scheduling regular cleaning appointments with Hancock Village Dental twice a year. Take time and care with your hygiene routine in order to have a successful dental visit free of pain and cavities. Avoid going to sleep at night without brushing your teeth first and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash to fight cavities even more. Rinsing the mouth with water after eating meals is also an effective way to remove food particles from the mouth and reduce the amount of acid produced. Prevention is the easiest method in the fight against cavities and the pain that comes with them.
Call Hancock Village Dental today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Edwin Acosta. His philosophy is to provide quality, preventative-focused, comprehensive dental care for the whole family, in a genuine and personal environment. The office is a family owned and operated dental practice that welcomes new patients and their entire families as extensions of their own.