Have you ever been diagnosed with a cavity and had no idea you even had one? That’s because cavities don’t always hurt. Let us explain why.
What Are Cavities?
A cavity is another way of saying tooth decay. Tooth decay happens when the hard, outer protective layer of the tooth, called the enamel, is weakened by acids produced by bacteria in the mouth. This occurs when certain foods, like carbohydrates and sugar, are not removed and help create a bacterial substance called plaque. Acid and plaque slowly dissolve your tooth enamel and create holes called cavities.
Do Cavities Hurt?
Most people have no idea that they have a cavity because they don’t usually hurt in the early stages. But once decay extends to the dentin layer underneath the enamel or reaches the inner pulp (a bundle of soft tissue, blood vessels, and nerves), your teeth will start hurting from the decay. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:
- Persistent toothache & pain — This can be a sharp, acute pain or a dull, throbbing pain.
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth — Decay and bacteria can cause a foul odor or a bad taste in your mouth.
- Sensitivity to extreme temperatures & pressure — An nerve irritated by decay and damage will be more sensitive to temperature (from food, beverages, and weather) and pressure (including chewing and elevation changes).
What Happens to Untreated Cavities?
Untreated cavities can cause severe toothaches and infections. If a cavity advances and spreads, there is a chance that it will be too late to save your decayed tooth. This is why it is so important to have biannual dental checkups so we can confirm whether or not your mouth is cavity-free! Daily at-home oral hygiene and professional cleanings and examinations will promote optimal oral health. Contact the Parkside Family Dental team to schedule your next appointment.
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