Tooth cavity Symptoms and causes
July 30th, 2022
what is a cavity?
In its simplest form, a cavity is damage to the tooth due to many factors. For example, in-proper maintenance of your teeth after consuming certain foods can cause tooth decay, damaging the outer coating of the tooth (enamel) and even working its way to the inner layer (dentin).
What does a cavity look like visually?
When the tooth enamel is eroded enough to be classified as a cavity, a small hole will develop on the tooth. It’s easy to feel and see once it’s left to develop. However, the longer the cavity goes untreated, the more severe it will become.
Things to know:
Cavities don’t form overnight. If you develop cavities, it is a good indication that the foods you consume are harming your teeth, and your oral hygiene routine needs improvement. With little effort after consuming these foods (high in sugar especially), you can combat the plaque that builds up on the surface of your teeth and stop a cavity before it develops.
What is Plaque?
Plaque is a whiteish substance that coats the surface of your teeth after consuming sugary and starchy foods. It forms from bacteria that feed off these starches and sugar. The danger in this plaque arises when it is left unattended. Acids in plaque will cause enamel erosion, and as a result, will leave a tiny hole in the tooth. After the first and most minor stage of cavity formation, the acid and bacteria will work their way to the dentin (the layer below the enamel), resulting in more severe pain and treatment required.
Symptoms: It’s essential to be aware of any early signs of a cavity; this will play a crucial role in preventing the cavity from fully developing or forming into a more severe condition. Some symptoms of cavities include:
- toothache or discomfort in a particular area
- staining or discolouration on the tooth’s surface
- teeth sensitivity, including pain when drinking or eating something hot/cold
- a hole forming on your tooth
- in cases where the cavity has reached the nerve, the patient is susceptible to infections
Tips for Combating Cavaties:
- avoid sugary and sticky foods and drinks
- cutback on frequent snacking
- rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth after eating
- work on a proper oral hygiene routine and equipment
- chewing xylitol gum for 5 mins at a time can help
- flossing is vital for cleaning the surface plaque that builds on your teeth. You will reach areas that your toothbrush can’t.
your dentist will perform an oral exam to determine the severity of your cavity. The severity of your case will determine what the best treatment option is. Three treatment options for treating cavities include:
- fillings: most basic treatment, drilling away the decayed tooth enamel area and replacing with composite or other substance like gold.
- crowns: more severe cases of decay require a crown which is a custom cap that sits on top of your natural crown.
- root canal: the most severe form of tooth decay will need a root canal. This is because the nerve tissue of your teeth is so damaged there’s no return. Your dentist would remove the decayed areas of the tooth and fill it or even place a crown if necessary.
Cavities are a common dental complication that can easily be avoided by following specific steps and maintaining them throughout the week. It’s essential to be mindful of the habits you have to prevent to avoid the formation of cavities. A cavity has many phases of severity; it’s crucial to treat it as soon as you notice any discomfort or any symptoms stated above.
The sooner it is treated, the better. As essential as it is to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine, visiting your dentist every six months for cleanups will help you stay on track to preventing cavities and further oral health complications.
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