Most of the time you cannot tell if you have a cavity. Like most chronic diseases, (think high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease), there are no symptoms until the disease is very advanced. Fortunately, now days we have diagnostic aids to detect disease before there are symptoms. That is why it is important to go for medical and dental checkups where a professional can detect disease early, before symptoms develop. With that in mind, here are some things to look out for.
1. Tooth Pain
There are several different types of tooth pain. Prolonged pain on hot stimulus usually means a tooth needs root canal treatment. A sharp pain when biting may mean that the tooth has a crack and may need to be covered with a crown. Pain on sweets may indicate a leaky filling that needs to be replaced. Sometimes a tooth can be painful because some of the underlying dentin is exposed.
2. Black Spots Or Holes In Teeth
Often teeth have dark spots because stain has accumulated in the grooves of teeth. This does not need to be treated. If you see that the area is getting bigger, have your dentist check it out.
3. Tooth Sensitivity
Some people often experience tooth sensitivity to hot, cold or sweets. While enamel, the outer layer of teeth, has no nerve endings, the underlying dentin, does. Once dentin is exposed, even microscopically, it may be sensitive. Let your dentist know about these areas as sometimes they can be covered to reduce the sensitivity.
4. Tooth Discoloration
A tooth changing color, especially adjacent to an old filling is often a sign that the filling is no longer sealing out bacteria and that a cavity is developing.
5. Chewing Food Causes Pain
Normal chewing should be not be painful. If you have an area that consistently hurts when you eat, be sure and point it out to your dentist.
The good news
- You can prevent cavities by brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist regularly.
- Once the tooth structure is lost, it can’t grow back. But if it’s only been weakened, improved hygiene and fluoride products can slow down the process and sometimes even arrest the decay.
- Solea, our new laser technology, can remove decay quickly and painlessly, without the need for anesthesia.