Even though teeth are super strong, they are still susceptible to damage. Tooth decay is one of the most common ailments in adults and children. So much so that the CDC estimates that about 90% of U.S. adults over 20 have had a cavity in their lifetime. While many people first discover that they have a cavity at their preventive checkups with their dentist in Carlsbad, there are some ways you can tell if you have a cavity at home in between appointments.
What Does a Cavity Feel Like?
While you may think that you feel a cavity, the truth is that the discomfort associated with cavities can often disguise itself as something else. For example, tooth sensitivity is pretty common and is not necessarily a sign of a cavity. However, new or more extreme sensitivity may be a cause for concern. Some other things that you may feel if you have a cavity include:
- Sensitivity when eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet
- Pain when biting down on an area
- Feeling a new divot in your teeth that wasn’t there before
Tooth enamel doesn’t contain any nerves, so it can’t feel anything. So if you do suddenly start to feel pain, it could mean that decay has worn away the enamel and found its way to the inside of your tooth where the nerves live. This is a sign that you should call your dentist.
What Does a Cavity Look Like?
Keeping an eye out for any changes in your mouth should be something that you do regularly. But what exactly are you looking for? Many times cavities that are in the early stages and are small will not be visible to the naked eye. That’s a good thing. So don’t be surprised if your dentist in Carlsbad suddenly says you have a cavity even if you’ve had no symptoms. Cavities will start as incredibly tiny areas of decay that you may not notice. But your dentist can see decay through x-rays and other diagnostic tools. Catching cavities early usually means quicker and easier treatment. Now, there are some things you should look for such as:
- Pitting in teeth
- Holes in teeth
- Tooth discoloration
If you notice any of the sudden changes in your teeth, contact your dentist in Carlsbad and schedule an appointment.
Brushing and flossing your teeth every day can help prevent cavities from developing. But it’s also important to see your dentist at least twice a year for preventive checkups. During these visits, your dental team will check for any changes in your mouth and recommend treatment as necessary. As with most things, early intervention is key to successful treatment. The sooner a concern is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin, and the sooner you can rest assured that your oral health is protected. Don’t hesitate, schedule your appointment today!