These 4 Signs Might Point to a Cavity

Most people will develop a cavity at some point in their lives. It is one of the most common issues dentists deal with on a regular basis, and it is caused by tooth decay.

How a cavity develops

Teeth are protected by an outer layer called the enamel. This is the strongest part of the human body, but it is constantly exposed to things that can damage it, like acids and the incredible force created by our jaw when we eat.

Acids get into a person's mouth via the things they eat and oral bacteria. Many foods and beverages that are consumed regularly, such as citrus drinks and sugar-rich treats, have an acidic nature. Prolonged contact with these products will eventually start to eat away at a tooth.

Other acids in the mouth are created by oral bacteria. These microscopic organisms dine on food particles and excrete acids. These acids eat away at the enamel. Enamel is designed to be able to deal with this bombardment, but if they are exposed to these acids for prolonged periods, small holes will start to develop on their surfaces. These small holes are called cavities or caries.

While tooth decay always starts as a small cavity that is barely visible, it will continue to expand until it reaches the pulp chamber. This is the inner layer of a tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels. Once decay reaches the pulp, the person might lose the tooth if treatment is not quickly administered.

4 Signs you might have a cavity

Here are some signs that are typically indicators that a person has a cavity:

1. Bad breath

Bad breath can be an indicator that a person has cavities. When these holes develop, food particles get stuck in them. Some of these particles can be stuck inside a cavity for weeks. As a result, the person's breath smells exactly how one would expect food that has decayed for weeks to smell.

2. Increased sensitivity

Sensitivity to hot and cold foods is another sign that a person might have a cavity. When enamel becomes compromised, the things the person consumes make contact with the dentin. This inner layer is more sensitive to temperatures.

3. Discolored tooth

A discolored tooth can also be a sign that a tooth has been affected by decay. It is usually an indicator of the decay reaching a more severe stage. The discoloration is often a result of the pulp chamber being breached by decay, killing the nerves.

At this stage of decay, a root canal might be needed to save the tooth.

4. Toothaches

Cavities often lead to toothaches. Generally speaking, the larger the cavity, the more pain the person experiences when the tooth comes into contact with something.

Treating a cavity is easy

Left untreated, a cavity can lead to the loss of a tooth, but fixing one during the early stages is a simple and affordable process. Cavities can also be prevented with treatments like fluoride treatments and dental sealants.

Contact our office today to learn even more about preventing, recognizing and treating cavities.

Request an appointment here: https://www.perkinsdentalbaltimore.com or call Perkins Dental Care at (410) 844-0632 for an appointment in our Baltimore office.

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