Patients of all ages, from children to adults, can develop tooth decay. While common, tooth decay is still a serious oral health concern and one that can eventually threaten the stability of your tooth. How do you know if you have a cavity? What are the warning signs of decay?
Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Decay
Question: Is discomfort a warning sign?
Answer: Yes, in many cases tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods/drinks, or a persistent toothache that doesn’t subside after 48 hours, can be a warning sign of a cavity. If you experience any discomfort, then talk to your dentist. We also recommend seeing your dentist once every six months for a checkup, which can allow the doctor to identify the presence of decay before you experience toothaches.
Question: What causes cavities?
Answer: Cavities form when the outer layer of enamel erodes, allowing bacteria to reach the more sensitive inner layers of dentin. Enamel erosion or damage can occur as a result of poor oral hygiene, teeth grinding, or injury to the tooth.
Question: What happens if a cavity isn’t treated?
Answer: Without treatment the decay will continue to grow and spread until bacteria comes into contact with the inner pulp. Then, an infection or possibly an abscess can form, causing serious discomfort. Without a root canal, an infection can cause the tooth to die and require removal before the infection spreads to surrounding teeth and into the jawbone.
Question: How do you repair a decayed tooth?
Answer: We can remove the decay and apply a composite resin. This metal-free material can be shaded to blend with your smile. Once the material cures under a light the doctor will polish the tooth for a more natural looking appearance. If you have any questions about detecting cavities or about our fillings, then please contact our office today.