Cavities, also known as tooth decay, are incredibly common. When caught early and with proper treatment, long-lasting issues can be prevented. However, many people ignore the common signs of tooth decay and also avoid visiting the dentist. If ignored, this can lead to the need for root canal therapy or other complicated dental procedures.
Knowing the common signs of tooth decay can help. However, if concerned, reach out for treatment right away. If you need treatment for a cavity or a cleaning in Howard County, contact Columbia Smiles Family Dentistry today at 410.690.4855.
What Are the Warning Signs of Tooth Decay?
Early tooth decay, also known as dental caries, can be challenging to detect without professional expertise. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain regular dental visits to ensure timely identification and treatment. If left untreated, a cavity can progress, leading to various noticeable symptoms, including:
- Increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages, causing discomfort
- Persistent toothache, which can range from a dull ache to sharp pain
- Formation of holes or pits in the affected teeth, indicating decay
- Discomfort or pain while chewing, indicating potential damage
- Discoloration or staining on the tooth surface, reflecting underlying issues
Experiencing any form of toothache should prompt an immediate visit to the dentist, as it could signal an array of underlying dental concerns. If you observe any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is crucial to schedule an appointment promptly.
Diagnostic tools, such as X-rays, can provide valuable insights into the extent of the problem, and aid in making decisions regarding treatment. Remember, early intervention is key to maintaining optimal oral health.
Tooth Decay Treatment
If you have a cavity, there are a number of ways your dentist can treat this issue. The treatment that is right for you will depend on the severity of the tooth decay. Some of the most common treatments include:
- Fillings – Your dentist will clean out the decayed area and fill it with a durable resin or dental amalgam.
- Fluoride – This mineral can help restore your tooth’s enamel and can reverse tooth decay in its earliest stages.
- Crowns – If a cavity has weakened your tooth, a crown can cover it.
- Root canals – Typically only needed when a tooth is badly damaged or infected, root canals involve cleaning out the interior of a tooth and placing a crown.
Tooth Decay Prevention
Preventing cavities is crucial to avoiding complex dental procedures and maintaining optimal oral health. Tooth decay occurs when plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, accumulates on the teeth due to the buildup of sugars and starches. Properly cleaning your teeth and making conscious choices about your diet can significantly contribute to combating decay.
To ensure the health of your teeth and gums, it is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Additionally, daily flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from hard-to-reach areas, promoting a clean and healthy mouth.
Consider substituting sugary drinks and snacks with water and low-sugar alternatives to minimize the risk of cavities. In case you do consume sugary foods, rinsing your mouth with water immediately afterward can help mitigate the potential harm. It’s worth noting that smoking and experiencing dry mouth are additional risk factors for tooth decay, emphasizing the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene practices.
Contact Columbia Smiles Today
Whether you’ve noticed some of the symptoms of tooth decay or are in need of a regular cleaning, Columbia Smiles can help. Our staff, led by Dr. Hsu will check for any signs of decay as well as common issues like gum disease during a dental exam. We offer a wide array of services to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy and your smile looking its best. These include:
- Cosmetic dentistry services like veneers and teeth whitening
- Dental trauma services in the case of an accident or injury
- Wisdom teeth consultation
- Periodontal reviews for gum disease
Contact our team today to schedule an appointment. We’ve worked hard to make our office a welcoming, comfortable environment for all of our patients, especially those who struggle with dental anxiety.