It’s rare to find someone who gets through life without developing tooth decay and, as a result, a cavity or two. In fact, nearly 90% of people ages 20-64 have decay in their teeth and at least one cavity.
At LaSante Health Center, our multidisciplinary team includes dental experts who can help you stay one step ahead of your dental health, and that starts with recognizing when you have tooth decay.
Here’s a look at how cavities form, the top three signs there’s an issue, and how we can stop the problem in its tracks.
How cavities form
As the name suggests, a cavity is a hole in your tooth that is the result of tooth decay. Along with gum disease, tooth decay is the primary driver of poor dental health and missing teeth.
Under normal circumstances, your mouth is full of bacteria — some good, some bad. Tooth decay occurs when bad bacteria set up shop inside your mouth (think plaque and tartar) and release an acid that can destroy your tooth’s protective enamel.
Once the tooth decay creates a cavity, it then becomes easier for more bacteria to make their way inside your teeth, causing further damage.
Top three signs of a cavity
There are several ways in which a cavity and tooth decay can make themselves known, including:
This is one symptom of a cavity that’s hard to ignore. If the decay in your teeth exposes sensitive nerves, you can experience pain in the affected tooth. This pain may only occur when you bite down, or it can be constant if the nerve exposure is large enough.
If you’re not experiencing pain, you may still experience extra sensitivity in your teeth. If the tooth decay creates small holes that go down into the dentin inside your teeth (which houses nerves), certain foods and drinks can cause discomfort.
For example, you may be extra sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks. Or this sensitivity might develop when you eat something very sweet or drink a sugary beverage.
There’s an obvious pit or hole
This sign of a cavity is fairly obvious. You see or feel a pit or hole in your tooth. Cavities often form in places where you can’t detect them, such as in between teeth, but they can develop along accessible surface areas, too.
So if you feel a pit with your tongue, even if it’s not causing any symptoms, it’s time to get help.
Stopping tooth decay in its tracks
If you act quickly, we can stop your tooth decay. If we confirm that you have a cavity, usually through a quick X-ray, we clear away the decay and plug the hole with a filling. This procedure is the best frontline treatment for preserving your teeth and takes no time at all for us to perform.
If you suspect you have a cavity, please contact our clinic in Brooklyn, New York, today to schedule an appointment. We serve the Flatbush and East Flatbush, Crown Heights, Park Slope, Little Haiti, Little Caribbean, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens communities.