Cavities are one of the most common dental problems your Raleigh dentist sees among people of all ages. Undetected, these tiny holes in your teeth can cause infections, which can lead to costly dental repairs or extractions. That said, if you’ve never had a cavity, you may not know what to look for. Today we’ll discuss 7 fool-proof ways to tell if you have a cavity based on your Raleigh dentist’s experience.
1. Tooth Pain
If your teeth are healthy, you should not be experiencing any sort of pain in your mouth. However, if you suddenly get a toothache (even if you only feel it while chewing on a hard piece of candy), you may have a cavity. Go ahead and schedule an appointment with your Raleigh dentist so she can treat it before it gets infected. Left untreated and what often starts as a little ache can quickly become consistent tooth pain.
Teeth sensitivity is a less obvious sign of a cavity because many people have sensitive teeth. However, if you’re just starting to feel some sensitivity (could be a tingle or a tickle), it’s possible that you have the beginning of a cavity. Teeth typically become sensitive because bacteria thins down your tooth enamel, which protects the nerves of your teeth.
Therefore, pay attention to your teeth while you eat hot, cold, acidic, or sugary foods and beverages. If you start feeling some sensitivity, your Raleigh dentist suggests that you start using sensitive toothpaste. If that doesn’t seem to alleviate the problem, you may have a cavity and it’s time to get it checked out.
3. Dark Spots On Your Tooth
At your last dental appointment, you may have overheard your hygienist talking to your Raleigh dentist about your cleaning. As your hygienist cleans your teeth, she will often make note of any suspicious activity, including dark spots, occurring in your mouth. Dark spots (brown, black or gray) typically appear before a hole forms on your teeth. As such, your dentist will then double-check those spots and either “watch” those teeth to see if they progress further or create a treatment plan. If you happen to see any dark spots in your mouth in between cleanings, you may want to give your dentist a call to discuss. Depending on the severity, she may want you to come in before your next scheduled appointment for treatment.
4. Holes in Your Teeth
If you feel or spot a hole in your tooth, there is no question that you have a cavity. At this point, you may require several fillings and potentially a root canal if the tooth has become infected. Call your Raleigh dentist to schedule an appointment ASAP so she can determine what level of treatment you require.
5. Bad Breath
Another sign that you may have a cavity is a case of bad breath or halitosis. The same bacteria that causes cavity formation also causes bad breath. Therefore, if you start noticing that your breath is stinkier than usual, even after you brush and floss your teeth, you may have a cavity. Furthermore, if you have ongoing halitosis, make sure you address your concerns with your Raleigh dentist. Halitosis can be treated, but we also want to make sure that you don’t have a cavity hiding in your mouth.
6. Broken or Chipped Tooth
Ever chipped a tooth by biting down on something hard? It happens to the best of us, but it can also be indicative of a cavity. Be sure to contact your Raleigh dentist anytime you break or chip a tooth so she can repair the tooth before the damage becomes so bad that an extraction is required.
Finally, if you see any sort of pus in your mouth, you’ve got a problem that requires immediate attention. DO NOT IGNORE OR OVERLOOK PUS! Pus indicates that you’ve had an untreated cavity that has now turned into an abscess. Abscesses can cause extreme pain, fever and cause your glands to swell. Your Raleigh dentist will help stop the pus and prescribe an antibiotic to prevent the abscess from getting any worse, but you should call her immediately.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, be sure to call Dr. Katherine E. Garrett and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.