You might have cavities lurking and forming in your mouth and have no idea they’re there. How can you catch their formation early to prevent little cavities from becoming big cavities?
The science of how a cavity develops is fairly complex, involving both acid erosion and mineral loss. Food containing sugars and starches attack your teeth with acids, which erode enamel by causing mineral loss. White spots can be a sign of mineral loss, which is the beginnings of decay. Fortunately, you can use fluoride to stop or even reverse tooth decay at this stage! But as mineral loss continues, and the enamel weakens or is destroyed, a cavity forms – and cavities are permanent damage that can only be repaired with a filling, not reversed.
At the very beginning of cavity formation, you might not have any symptoms. But as decay progresses, you might feel a variety of symptoms. Your tooth may ache or be sensitive. When you bite down, or eat or drink something sweet, hot, or cold, you might feel mild to sharp pain. There are also visible signs of cavities like visible holes or pits in your teeth, or staining on any surface of your tooth that looks brown, black, or white.
Because you can’t always tell that you have a cavity forming, you should see your dentist regularly (every six months) whether or not you have symptoms. However, toothache and mouth pain are reasons to see your dentist right away, even if you’ve just had a checkup. Your dentist can detect a cavity in two ways: using a sharp instrument to feel for softened tooth structure; and using X-rays to see cavities between teeth. There are other diagnostic tools that they can use as well but these are the most common. When you catch a cavity early, it’s a lot easier to fix than when it’s gotten large!
Remember, visit your dentist regularly for preventative care and to catch cavities early; brush your teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste, and see your dentist immediately if you have any of the symptoms of a cavity. Book your next appointment with us today at 403-248-0301.
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Thursday7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
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