A cavity occurs as the result of tooth decay, which can affect both the outer coating and inner layer of the tooth. When carb-heavy foods stay on your teeth, the bacteria within your mouth turn those crumbs into acids, which begin to form plaque. Over time, plaque dissolves the enamel and creates holes in your teeth. Regular daily tooth care and regular visits to your dentist can prevent many cavities.
Signs of a Cavity
Cavities can be painful because they can expose the roots of your teeth. Some of the signs of a cavity include pain while chewing, especially if the pain is concentrated on one tooth. Cold or hot foods might also result in sensitivity or pain. When a cavity is deep enough, you might even spot a dark area or spot on the surface. If you run your tongue over your teeth and feel any chips or cracks in the enamel, this can also indicate a cavity.
What to Do
If you have these symptoms, it’s best to get an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. If you wait too long before seeing the dentist, the bacteria in plaque can continue to decay the tooth. This can require more extensive treatment, which is typically more expensive and painful than a simple filling. When you catch a cavity early, the filling process is fairly straightforward. Excessive decay can result in the need for a crown, or a cap over the tooth, along with a root canal.
When the pain is severe, try taking over-the-counter pain medication and using warm compresses against your jaw near the tooth that is bothering you. Orajel can temporarily numb the pain, but be careful when using this product close to a tooth with a cavity.
Keep up on regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits to prevent your risk of cavities. If you need a dentist in the NYC area, contact Dr. Mal Braverman to schedule an appointment.