When it comes to your teeth and virtually everything else in your body – if it hurts there’s a good chance that it’s gone far too long without being treated.
Pain is a wonderful signal from your body (that you might not tend to describe as “wonderful” that amazingly and accurately predicts when something is wrong. But what’s actually “wrong” when you have a cavity? What does a cavity mean?
Let’s take a look.
While you might think a cavity is just the beginning of your problems, it’s actually one of the first (hard to ignore) signs that something has gone very wrong with one of your teeth.
All day, every day your teeth fight against the attack of acid as it tries to wear away at the enamel of your teeth so that bacteria can work its way inward to live and thrive off of the inside of your tooth.
When your tooth is frequently exposed to acids – like if you’re frequently eating or drinking acidic foods, the continued exposure can slowly begin to contribute to decay, which often starts as a simple white spot where de-mineralization has occurred.
At this point, your teeth probably don’t even hurt or feel sensitive. The good thing is that your teeth can actually heal – if you take quick action. This process of decay can and will reverse itself. However, if it gets any worse, and more minerals are lost, the enamel gets weaker and weaker – eventually forming a small hole known as a cavity. This eventually needs to be repaired by your dentist with a filling.
Every year, our dentists near Anaheim fix countless cavities all over the mouth. Fillings can be comprised of a couple different materials – all with their various advantages and disadvantages, from a more natural look, to stronger and longer lasting fillings – the benefits and downsides are all factors you should discuss with your dentist.
But what happens if you don’t fill a cavity?
If you think about any cavity like you’d think about an infection, you’ll understand that like an infection the bacteria at the heart of a cavity moves deeper and deeper – consuming as it goes.
If you don’t treat a cavity, the hole only gets bigger and bigger. Unfortunately, this makes it harder for cavities to treat. And when a conventional filling can’t treat the cavity – all you can do is use a crown. Unfortunately – a crown can make the tooth weaker, and sometimes – all that can be done is to replace the tooth completely.
In the event that the bacteria reaches deep enough in your tooth to affect the pulp chamber, this is when an abscess can form – requiring the intervention of root canal treatment in order to save the tooth.
Are you beginning to experience the signs of decay, or feeling pain? Don’t put it off before it’s too hard to treat with a simple filling. If you’re a patient in the Anaheim area – contact our dental team today!