About 13.2% of children and 25.9% of adults (ages 20 to 44) have untreated dental caries. Many people don’t know how to spot the signs of a cavity, though. If you experience symptoms of a cavity, you need to visit a dentist as soon as possible.

Otherwise, your cavity pain could further impact your oral health and quality of life.

Not sure which cavity symptoms to watch out for? Read on to learn everything you need to know about cavities today!

What is a Cavity?

In order to spot the signs of a cavity, it helps to understand how cavities form first.

If you fail to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly, food particles and bacteria can build against your teeth. Plaque, a sticky substance that clings to your teeth, can form as a result. The bacteria in plaque will start producing acid.

These acids can erode your teeth’s protective tooth enamel. Once you’ve lost your enamel, you can’t grow it back. Without protective enamel, your teeth can become vulnerable.

Plaque will continue eating away at your teeth, causing cavities to form.

Cavities are holes that, over time, can destroy a tooth. Untreated, cavities can also lead to complications like an infection or tooth abscess. These complications could become life-threatening if you neglect to seek treatment.

Certain areas of your mouth have a higher risk of forming plaque than others. These include:

  • The bottom of your teeth (near the gums)
  • Between teeth
  • Chewing surfaces on molars

Eating certain foods like sugary sweets, hard candy, soda, and dried fruit can increase your risk of a cavity, too.

Remember, both children and adults can develop cavities. For adults, the risk can increase as gums start to recede away from the teeth. The recession can expose the tooth’s roots to plaque.

Signs of a Cavity

Knowing how to spot the signs of a cavity can ensure you seek treatment right away. Otherwise, your cavity could get larger over time. Remember, your risk of experiencing complications will increase without treatment.

Here are a few cavity signs to look out for between dental visits. If you experience these symptoms of a cavity, visit your local Versailles dentist. They’ll ensure you receive treatment right away.

1. Toothaches

Untreated dental caries (decay) in permanent teeth is the most common health condition worldwide.

Many people shrug off a toothache with the assumption that it will fade in time. Unfortunately, an ongoing toothache is one of the most common symptoms of a cavity.

You might notice your toothache comes on suddenly. Otherwise, you might notice cavity pain after a snack or meal. Pain or pressure might get worse while chewing, too.

If you experience pain and discomfort in your mouth, visit a dentist.

In the meantime, make sure to brush and floss twice a day. Proper oral hygiene will keep plaque from forming. Otherwise, plaque can harden into tartar, increasing your risk of cavity formation.

2. Sensitivity to Hot and Cold

You might notice your teeth feel sensitive after you eat or drink something that’s hot or cold.

Remember, plaque can cause your teeth’s protective enamel to wear away over time. As enamel fades, your dentin can become more vulnerable. Dentin is the hard tissue layer that exists beneath your enamel.

Dentin contains microscopic hollow tubes below the surface of your teeth.

If plaque attacks your teeth, you’ll no longer have enough enamel to shield the dentin. Consuming foods that are sticky, acidic, hot, or cold can stimulate nerves and cells. You’ll experience sensitivity when consuming these foods as a result.

3. Sensitivity to Sweets

You might also notice new reactions when consuming foods that are high in sugar. If you notice lingering sensitivity after consuming something sugary, visit your dentist. It’s likely you’ve developed tooth decay.

Discomfort that occurs when consuming sweets is due to damage to the tooth enamel.

If these cavity symptoms sound familiar, schedule an appointment right away.

4. A Pit or Hole

Take a look at your smile in the mirror or run your tongue over your teeth. You might notice a small white spot on a tooth at first. This white spot is one of the first cavity symptoms you might notice.

Over time, the spot can get worse until you notice a pit or hole in a tooth.

In some cases, you can’t see or feel the hole. However, you might begin experiencing sensitivity and pain around that tooth.

Make sure to visit your dentist right away if these signs of a cavity sound familiar. A pit or hole is a serious indicator of tooth decay.

5. Staining

Take a look at your teeth in the mirror again. Do you notice any stains against your teeth? Remember, you might notice a white stain before a pit or hole forms.

However, you might also notice stains that become darker as your tooth decay becomes more advanced. For example, you might notice a brown or black stain as well. These stains will appear on the surface of a tooth.

When to See the Dentist

If these cavity symptoms sound familiar, don’t hesitate to visit your local dentist. They can assess your oral health to determine if you have a cavity.

You should schedule an appointment right away if you experience sweet or temperature sensitivity. Visit your dentist within 24 or 48 hours.

If your toothache doesn’t fade or you notice staining, schedule an appointment to get assessed as well.

Make sure you visit your dentist every six months. Make sure you’re scheduling dental X-rays, too. Routine appointments can help you prevent cavities or stop them from developing further.

Otherwise, you might experience bigger problems like fractures or root canals.

Visit Your Dentist After Noticing These Signs of a Cavity

Do these signs of a cavity sound familiar? Remember to visit your local dentist right away. They can put an end to your cavity pain.

Without treatment, however, you could put your oral health at further risk.

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