Taking care of your teeth is extremely important. Everyone knows or should know to brush thoroughly at least twice a day, to floss regularly, and to schedule regular checkups with a dentist. Even with the best and most diligent care, however, the fact remains that cavities can still form. If you've never had a cavity, it's easy to not notice or to mistake the warning signs of a cavity for something else, and, unfortunately, the longer you let a cavity go, the worse it will get and the more severe the consequences will be. For that reason, in addition to practicing good dental care and seeing your dentist regularly, it's smart to know the warning signs of a cavity. That way, you can book a dental appointment outside of your regular checkup schedule at the first sign of tooth trouble.
Warning Sign #1: Tooth Trouble
One of the first major indicators of a cavity is tooth pain. The pain may be in the tooth specifically or in the gum surrounding the tooth.
For many people, the pain of a cavity is described as a throbbing, constant pain. Others will only experience pain when eating or when exposed to other triggers, such as cold air. Whether the pain is due to a cavity or not, however, the fact remains that if your tooth hurts, something isn't right, and you need to see a dentist right away.
Warning Sign #2: Visible Symptoms
Sometimes a cavity is evident thanks to visible symptoms. If you're able to open your mouth and see the tooth that is causing you pain, be on the lookout for obvious holes in the tooth surface or colored staining, usually black or dull brown, on the tooth, as these things may indicate a cavity.
Typically, if you can see the evidence of the cavity, this means that it is in the more advanced stages, so it is especially important, if you notice this sign, to get to a dentist quickly before the decay progresses and potentially ruins the tooth.
Warning Sign #3: Tooth Sensitivity
A cavity doesn't always present itself as pure pain. Sometimes the pain of a cavity is more like a sensitivity, especially sensitivity to foods or drinks that are very hot or very cold. Tooth sensitivity means that the tooth's nerve is exposed and is thus more sensitive to extreme temperatures.
So, if you shudder when you eat ice cream or wince when you drink coffee, a cavity could be to blame.
Obviously, cavities are nothing to play around with, not to mention the fact that they are uncomfortable. So, if you suspect that you may have one, put an end to your pain and worry by booking a dentist's appointment.