Understanding The Basics Of Cavity Development And Your Dentist

For most people, the discovery that they have a cavity comes from a semi-annual dental checkup. However, for those who experience dental phobias or don't visit the dentist regularly, they may not know about the presence of a cavity. Understanding the warning signs can help you to determine when you might have a cavity starting so that you can get it treated as soon as possible. Here are some of the most common cavity signs that you should watch for at each stage of progression.

Subtle Changes

Remembering that cavities are a progression of a decaying tooth, you can easily identify the earliest signs of a cavity developing. As the enamel fades on the surface of your tooth, when decay begins, you will start to see a white spot on the tooth's surface. 

That white spot is your first indication that you may have a cavity that needs to be addressed. Visiting your dentist now is a great idea because your dentist may be able to stop the progression of the decay in this early stage, preventing a cavity from actually developing.

Sensitivity Struggles

If you don't address a cavity when it first appears as a white discoloration, it will gradually progress. As the enamel wears further and exposes more of the internal pulp of the tooth, you may notice some sensitivities that you didn't have before. You could notice pain or discomfort when the tooth is exposed to heat, cold, or even sugary foods or drinks. 

Any time you notice sensitivity like this, it should be taken seriously. By the time you experience sensitivity, that means bacteria is getting to your tooth. This can lead to infections or other types of issues.

Dark Spots

When your tooth is left untreated, it will lead to dark spots on the tooth where the decay is worsening. The dark spot means that your tooth is starting to break down. This leads to the typical hole that everyone associates with cavities. Unfortunately, these dark spots can often develop in areas where you can't see them, which is why regular dental appointments are so important.

Persistent Pain

When your tooth decay continues and creates a significant cavity, you'll start to notice persistent pain in that tooth. The pain occurs when the root of your tooth is exposed, which can lead to serious infections and the need for a root canal. The longer you allow the decay to continue, the worse the tooth's condition is likely to get. It can even cause your tooth to become brittle, and it may crack.

Visit your dentist regularly to catch cavities as early as possible.