Did you know that one in every four adults in the United States has a cavity? They’re one of the most common dental problems you can have, but many people don’t realize they have one until they’re in dire straits. Learn how to recognize cavity symptoms, and you’ll be able to make a dentist appointment before the toothache begins.
Recognizing Cavity Symptoms
Sometimes it can feel a little embarrassing to admit you have a cavity. After all, we tend to associate cavities with overindulging on sweets, and maybe neglecting our dental hygiene too. However, cavities are extremely common, and can occur no matter how diligent you are with your toothbrush. In fact, 90 percent of all adults have had at least one cavity in their lifetime!
Cavities may be common, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to ignore them. Untreated cavities can lead to all kinds of unpleasant dental complications, such as the dreaded root canal. The sooner you can identify a cavity, the better.
So, how do you know if you have a cavity? Believe it or not, it isn’t always easy to tell. Learning to recognize cavity symptoms can help.
What Is a Cavity?
In simple terms, a cavity is what occurs when the outer enamel of your tooth is permanently damaged by decay. Sometimes cavities are very obvious. Other times, they may look like a small dark speck, or even be invisible to the naked eye. That’s why learning to recognize other cavity symptoms is important to your dental health.
What Cavity Symptoms Should I Keep an Eye Out For?
So, how can you find a cavity before it starts causing trouble? Cavity symptoms are easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for:
- A visible crack, hole, or chip in your tooth. This is probably the most obvious symptom of a cavity. While cracks and other enamel damage can be caused by other things, a chip or hole in your tooth is a red flag you should not ignore.
- Spontaneous pain without an apparent cause. Mouth pain can usually be connected to a specific issue, like a cold sore. However, if you have pain in your mouth from a source you cannot identify, a cavity is a likely culprit.
- Tooth sensitivity. If you are suddenly cringing when hot or cold beverages hit your teeth, you may be looking at a cavity. You also may experience pain when you eat something overly sweet.
- Visible discoloration. If your teeth are less than sparkling white, that isn’t necessarily anything to be worried about. Your teeth might naturally be a shade darker, or they might be stained by tea or coffee. However, if you have only one tooth that is discolored, especially if it is brown or gray, that can be a sign of serious decay.
- Swelling or bleeding gums. Sometimes, your gums will actually show cavity symptoms before your teeth do. Infection is one of many reasons that gums can swell, bleed, or appear discolored. Even if it isn’t a cavity, it’s still time to see a dentist when these symptoms occur.
- Bad smell. Again, a little bad breath here or there isn’t something to get too concerned about. However, if you have persistent bad breath that isn’t helped by mouthwash or tooth brushing, dental decay could be the cause.
As you can see, there are plenty of cavity symptoms that can let you know it’s time for a dental appointment. However, the best way to spot a cavity before it starts causing trouble is to see your dentist at least twice a year for a check-up. If you’re not sure where you’re making your next appointment, why not give us a call?
Looking for a new dentist? Contact Wilkinson Dental if you live in or near Springfield, Missouri. You can request an appointment online or give us a call at 417-882-8222. We look forward to hearing from you!