Learning to spot a cavity in its earliest stages is a skill that can save you lots of grief down the road. However, this is easier said than done and many people do not realize they have a cavity until too late. Learn the earliest warning signs of teeth decay and why recognizing them is important with Dr. Scott Terry in North Vernon, IN.
What is a cavity?
A cavity occurs when bacteria find a home on the tooth’s enamel and, if left to stay on the tooth, hardens into plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance removed from the teeth by brushing and flossing. However, if plaque hardens into tartar, only a professional dental cleaning can remove it from the tooth. The tartar begins eating away at the tooth’s enamel, eventually tunneling its way through the tooth to its inner pulp chamber, which houses the tooth’s soft tissues and nerves.
Do I have a cavity?
Though many people relate having a cavity to having a toothache, this is not always the case. In fact, cavities only cause pain in their most advanced stages, giving you plenty of time to spot and treat your decay to avoid a toothache altogether. Some common warning signs that you may have a cavity include:
- a hole in the tooth
- a brown or black discoloration on the tooth
- unexplained bad breath
- sensitivity to hot and cold, especially while eating or drinking
- a toothache
- difficulty chewing
Cavity Treatments in North Vernon, IN
Treating a cavity depends on how advanced the cavity is. In their earliest stages, before the decay reaches the inner pulp chamber, your family dentist will use a dental filling to repair the damage and refill the tooth’s natural structure. In their more advanced stages, decay begins infecting the inner tissues of the tooth, including its nerves, to cause a toothache. At this stage of a cavity, your family dentist will use a root canal to remove the inner tissues and nerves from the tooth, then fill it in to restore its structure. Your family dentist will probably suggest a dental crown which fits over the tooth to further stabilize it against everyday use.
For more information on cavities, please contact Dr. Scott Terry in North Vernon, IN. Call (812) 346-4500 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Terry today