When you think about a visit to a dental office, there is a good chance one word is going to pop into your head: cavities. While a cavity is perhaps the accurate and descriptive term (they are a literal hole in our tooth’s enamel), the clinical term for this all too common condition is dental caries.
In this blog, we are going to discuss why cavities should be a greater oral health concern, how they can cause dental discomfort, and more importantly, how your friends here at Fairchance Dental Arts can help resolve them!
The Cause and Concerns Behind Cavities
There is a common misconception that dental cavities aren’t that much of an alarm or even a danger to our oral health. According to a study published in The Journal of the American Dental Association, it is estimated that as many as one in five Americans have untreated dental cavities!
A cavity is formed when the integrity of our tooth’s enamel (the hard, white exterior) or dentin (the enamel’s support system) is compromised, creating a space. The cause of these cavities is simple enough: diet. Sugary or acidic foods in our diet can not only weaken the enamel but also allow harmful bacteria to thrive, advancing tooth decay.
Why Aren’t Cavities Taken More Seriously?
In the oral health community, cavities are taken quite seriously. Routine checkups help prevent them and there are many means to restore the integrity of a damaged tooth from a dental filling to a dental cap.
However, for many of us, our very first experience at the dentist office may be for a cavity as children before our adult teeth came in. This can leave us with the impression that it isn’t a pressing issue.
If Cavities Are Easily Fixed, How Bad Can They Be?
While it is true that when caught early, there are quite a few options available to remedy dental cavities. However, just because there are solutions to a problem, doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem, right? And a single cavity may be just the beginning of advancing tooth decay.
Here are just a few dangers cavities can create for your dental health:
- Discoloration: Cavities wear away at your tooth’s enamel (the hard, white layer of our teeth) which can lead to dark spots on our teeth.
- Tooth Sensitivity: The enamel of our teeth isn’t just to help us chew, but also protects the sensitive, soft interior of our teeth. When that is worn away by tooth decay, we may develop sensitivity to foods such making it difficult to enjoy warm drinks or cold treats.
- Infection: Cavities provide a gateway for bacteria to travel into the chamber of your tooth, which contains soft material called “pulp.” This can lead to an infection that puts the entire tooth at risk!
Do I Have a Cavity? What Does It Feel Like?
One of the reasons that cavities are such a widespread dental issue is how they begin as a subtle inconvenience and then turn into a very serious risk to your overall oral health. While maintaining proper oral hygiene at home and scheduling routine dental checkups are the best way to avoid cavities, here are a few indicators that you might be suffering from tooth decay:
- Bad Breath: Most of us indulge in a great dish with a healthy dose of garlic every now and again. But that’s not the kind of bad breath we’re talking about here. If you are experiencing bad breath that isn’t going away with brushing, flossing, or mouthwash, a cavity could be to blame—as it gives foul smelling bacteria a place to hide.
- Sudden Sensitivity: If a cavity is large enough, you may experience a mild to sharp pain when eating something that really stimulates the senses. This is most often associated with hot drinks like tea or coffee, sugary foods like candy, or cold treats like ice cream.
- Random Toothaches: Prolonged toothaches can actually be considered a dental emergency, but for dental cavities, they may create a dull aching sensation that lasts minutes or just a few hours. Once the pain fades away or we take over the counter medication for the pain, we believe that the issue has been resolved. That isn’t the case! The cause of the pain—the cavity—still needs to be treated!
Schedule Your Cavity Consultation Today
Keeping your smile cavity free and sparkling is just a call away thanks to your friends at Fairchance Dental Arts! Our dedicated dental professionals provide a fantastic range of services from professional cleanings, general dentistry, to the latest in orthodontic solutions. Contact us today and begin your journey to a beaming smile.