By Scott A. Terry, DDS
October 13, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay   cavity  

Tooth decay signs aren't always obvious. Dr. Scott Terry, your North Vernon, IN dentist, shares a few common signs of cavities and cavitiesdiscusses what you can do to prevent them.

What signs or symptoms may indicate that I have a cavity?

A toothache is one of the most obvious signs that you have a cavity. When your tooth aches or throbs, either constantly or intermittently, chances are you have a cavity. Cavities don't usually start to produce pain until they're fairly large, which is one reason that dentists recommend that you visit every six months. If your dentist notices a small cavity, he can treat your tooth before the decay has a chance to spread very far.

A change in the appearance of a tooth may also be a sign that you have a cavity. Small pits or holes or white, brown or black stains on a tooth can be indications of tooth decay. Not surprisingly, eating can be a painful experience when you have a cavity. Biting, chewing and putting pressure on the tooth can aggravate your cavity and increase pain.

You may also notice that your pain seems to increase when you eat or drink sweet foods or beverages or take a bite or sip of a cold or hot beverage or food. When the acids that cause tooth decay attack your enamel, the layer of dentin underneath is exposed. Tiny tubes travel from the pulp to the dentin. When these tubes are uncovered, you'll feel pain every time you indulge in a sugary treat or drink a cup of coffee.

How can I prevent cavities?

Although we all know that brushing is an important part of cavity prevention, too many people don't take the time to brush thoroughly. Brushing should take at least two minutes to ensure that you spend enough time cleaning each tooth. Flossing once a day helps remove plaque from the spaces between teeth that your toothbrush can't reach.

In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, it's important to visit your North Vernon dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and an exam. No matter how carefully you brush your teeth, you may not be able to remove plaque from hard-to-reach places. When plaque lingers on your teeth, it turns into tartar, a hard substance that can only be removed at the dentist's office. Tarter deposits increase your risk of developing gum disease.

Do you have any cavity symptoms? Call Dr. Terry, your North Vernon, IN dentist, at (812) 346-4500 to schedule a convenient appointment.