A dental cavity is an area of tooth decay that has grown into a small hole. Cavities have a variety of causes, from frequent snacking to heartburn. Left untreated, cavities can continue to grow, causing severe pain and other complications. Fortunately, by visiting the dentist regularly and maintaining good dental hygiene, you can prevent many cavities.
The symptoms of a dental cavity vary depending on where the cavity is and how far it has progressed. A toothache is often a reliable indicator of a cavity, according to the Mayo Clinic, and it warrants visiting a dentist as soon as possible to avoid complications from more advanced decay. In addition to general aching, a cavity often causes pain when you bite down with the affected tooth.
Increased tooth sensitivity is another sign of a dental cavity. You may notice this when eating or drinking something that is sweet, hot or cold, according to the Mayo Clinic. This sensitivity may feel like mild to sharp pain, and it indicates that the tooth's pulp is still healthy, according to the Merck Manual Home Edition. At this stage, your dentist can restore the tooth, and further pain is unlikely to develop.
If a dental cavity gets large enough, you may be able to see it; it will look like a hole or pit in your tooth. Advanced cavities may be indicated by pus around the tooth, which is caused by an inflammation or infection at the end of the tooth's root, according to the Merck Manual. This condition, called a periapical abscess, causes constant pain that worsens when you bite.
A lack of symptoms doesn't necessarily indicate a lack of dental cavities. When a cavity is in its earliest stages, confined to the tooth enamel, treatment is relatively simple, sometimes requiring nothing more than fluoride treatments to restore the enamel, according to the Mayo Clinic. If a dental cavity is allowed to progress beyond the enamel, a filling, root canal or, in the most extreme cases, tooth extraction may be required.
Good oral hygiene--including brushing after every meal, flossing daily and using a fluoridated mouth rinse if recommended by your dentist--can go a long way toward preventing dental cavities, according to the Mayo Clinic. Regular dentist visits, which include professional cleanings and oral exams, can also help prevent problems or identify them before they're extensive. Drinking tap water, which, unlike many bottled waters, contains fluoride, is also good for cavity prevention. People who are particularly prone to cavities may benefit from dental sealants, fluoride treatments and antibacterial treatments, as prescribed by a dentist.
- Photo Credit http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Cavities_evolution_4_of_5_ArtLibre_jnl.png
Signs & Symptoms of Lymphoma in Adults
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is responsible for fighting diseases in the body. It is...
Symptoms of Inflamed Sinuses
Symptoms of inflamed sinuses are different in nearly every circumstance. You may have inflamed sinuses while experiencing allergy symptoms. You may have...
Impacted Sinus Infection
Sinus infections affect more than 35 people million people a year in the United States, according to ent-consult.com. The sinus cavity is...
Nerve Damage Symptom in Teeth
When infection damages the nerves inside the teeth, the symptoms are easy to notice and often painful. But that's a good thing,...
Untreated Feline Abscess of the Eye
Due to the enormous amount of bacteria that reside in the average cat's mouth, an abscess commonly develops at the site of...
Infected Tooth Symptoms
A tooth infection, which is also referred to as a tooth abscess, usually results from an untreated cavity or injury to a...
Trigeminal Neuralgia & Tooth Pain
Trigeminal neuralgia is a nerve disorder that causes a disruption in the trigeminal nerve in the face that may result in excruciating...
Signs of Rotten Teeth
A rotten tooth is caused by damage to the tooth structure that effects the enamel (hard coating that protects the outer layer...
How Does a Dentist Fill a Cavity?
A cavity is a small dental infection of the tooth that is comprised of bacteria and is treated with a filling. Discover...