Early signs of tooth decay and cavity symptoms

tooth decay and cavity symptoms

No one wants cavities or tooth loss. The earlier you get treatment for a cavity or tooth decay, the better chance you have of preventing pain and tooth loss. Many early warning signs should motivate you to call your dentist for an appointment.

Cavities don’t just suddenly happen. They are the result of bacteria building up over time, eating away at your tooth enamel and creating an ugly pit that will cause pain and decay if left untreated.

Cavity Symptoms

Several symptoms occur with the onset of a cavity. The first symptom you will notice is white flecks on the teeth. This is often the first sign before you feel any pain or notice a cavity pit.

Other early symptoms may be more subtle. Cavity symptoms include sensitivity to hot and cold foods as well as sensitivity to sugary foods. You may also have bad breath you haven’t had before.

More obvious symptoms are swollen gums, a tooth abscess, or a toothache.

Is It a Cavity?

One of the problems with many of these symptoms is that they can also be the symptoms of something else. You can best figure out if you have a cavity by marking when you have the symptoms and how often.

For instance, getting pain in your tooth after eating a piece of cake could mark a cavity. Having pain when you first wake up may indicate that you grind your teeth at night.  Understanding the cause and effect of your symptoms is the best indicator of the root cause.

The only sure way you will know if you have a cavity is to have a dentist do an exam. Getting an X-ray, a cleaning, and a physical exam will make everything clear. Be sure to tell your dentist of your symptoms so they can be aware of what to look for and where to specifically look.

Can You Put Off Treatment?

It’s best not to put off getting treatment for a cavity. Cavities will not go away and will only get worse. Most dentists will advise getting it treated within a year after a cavity forms to avoid tooth decay, pain, and tooth loss.

You can help prevent enamel decline and tooth erosion when you spot the early stages of a cavity while you are waiting to get treatment. Some things you can do is use fluoride toothpaste and an antiseptic or fluoride rinse. There are some surface filling materials available also.

However, none of these offer a permanent solution. Only your dentist can remedy a cavity by cleaning it and installing a filling.

A benefit of getting a cavity treated early is that cavities that are still in the first stage of development can sometimes be reversed.

Dentists can perform a fluoride treatment to remineralize the enamel. This can result in a reversal of the cavity that typically starts under the enamel.

By remineralizing the enamel, the enamel is strengthened and the cavity is stopped.

What To Do While Waiting on an Appointment

Some dentists can’t book you for a month or so. In most cases, those experiencing early signs of a cavity can wait until their next dental exam to address it unless they want to try to reverse a cavity in stage one. The exception is if you are experiencing pain. Then, you will want to make an appointment sooner.

You can help yourself while you wait for your dental appointment by avoiding sugary foods and drinks. Other foods to avoid are extremely hot or cold foods and hard foods that you bite down forcefully. You can also pay special attention to how you brush, making sure to brush your teeth thoroughly, but not aggressively. Flossing and mouth rinses are also important in oral hygiene and play a positive role in controlling cavities.

Pay attention to your gums to make sure they aren’t inflamed. Mark any changes or pain to tell your dentist.

Those who are concerned about the symptoms they are experiencing should call for an appointment. We’re here to serve you and stop cavities from causing you pain or damaging your teeth! Make an appointment today!

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