Do Not Ignore a Tooth that is Causing You Pain!
A toothache, whether it is painful all the time or only under specific circumstances such as chewing or when tapped by a dental instrument, is generally a sign of a serious tooth disorder. The most common tooth disorders include cavities which could lead to abscesses.
Cavities, also known as tooth decay or caries, are holes in the teeth. Tooth decay is an infection that affects both the outer coating of a tooth (enamel) and the inner layer (dentin).
Basically, the plaque that does not get brushed away by your toothbrush or washed away by your saliva produces acid. Enamel consists of minerals such as calcium that is prone to acid attacks.
If plaque is left to linger on the teeth for too long, tiny holes will begin to form as the enamel erodes until eventually one large hole appears which is how cavities are formed. Cavities are most commonly found on the molars, near the gum line, between teeth and at the edges of fillings.
Who is at risk?
While children and older adults are generally the most vulnerable, anyone can get cavities, especially those that eat a lot of sugary foods or practice poor oral hygiene. Other high risk factors include:
- Frequent snacking or sipping on acidic food or beverages
- Eating foods that cling to your teeth for a long time – candy, cereal, honey, ice cream, milk, etc…
- Inadequate brushing & flossing
- Lack of fluoride
- Dry mouth
- Worn dental fillings or ill-fitting dental devices
- Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia
- Acid reflux, heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Don’t wait until it hurts!
Since nerve fibres are not present in tooth enamel, you will not experience any pain while the acid is attacking the enamel. Once the acid reaches the dentin located under the enamel, your tooth is already diseased. This is why it is so important to have regular, preventative dental exams.
Symptoms of Cavities:
- Toothache or pain when you bite down
- Tooth sensitivity, especially when eating or drinking something hot, cold or sweet
- Visible holes in your teeth
- Stained surfaces on your teeth which may appear black, brown, or white
- Bad breath and a bad taste in your mouth are warning signs as well
Complications Caused by Cavities
Since cavities and tooth decay are such a common affliction, most people don’t take it as seriously as they should. If cavities are left untreated, they could quickly turn into tooth abscesses.
Bacteria will find its way into the pulp of the tooth through a cavity and cause an infection. Pus will be present in the centre of the tooth, otherwise known as an abscess. Tooth abscesses can present serious health complications including tooth loss, blood infections, as well as infections in both your soft tissue and jaw bone. These complications could be life-threatening if not treated properly. Along with the symptoms associated with cavities, abscesses are also accompanied by fever, swollen neck glands, and a swollen jaw.
The most important thing to note is that if a cavity is treated before it starts causing you pain, you will not require extensive treatment and will be able to save your tooth. Tusk Dental offers the following treatment options:
- Fluoride treatments
- Fillings/Restorations are the most common treatment method
- Crowns will be required if the tooth decay is extensive
- Root Canals will be necessary if the decay has reached the pulp of your tooth
- Tooth Extractions will have to take place if the tooth cannot be rescued by other methods
Why wait another day? Contact Tusk Dental and let us help you keep that beautiful smile healthy!