Oral Health & Hygiene

What Do Cavities Feel Like? (And How to Treat Them)

What Do Cavities Feel Like? (And How to Treat Them)
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16 May

Cavities, also known as dental caries or tooth decay, are one of the most common dental problems people encounter. Understanding how cavities feel can help you identify if you're experiencing this dental issue and seek appropriate treatment promptly.

What Do Cavities Feel Like?

In the early stages, cavities may not produce any symptoms. However, as they grow larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth, you may experience:

  • Tooth Sensitivity: One of the initial signs of a cavity is sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks.
  • Toothache: An intermittent or persistent toothache may occur. The pain might be mild or sharp and often becomes noticeable when you're eating or drinking.
  • Visible Holes or Pits in Your Teeth: In some cases, you might see holes or pits in your teeth, indicating a cavity.
  • Pain When Biting Down: Cavities can make your teeth sensitive to pressure. You might feel a sharp pain when biting or chewing.
  • Staining on the Tooth's Surface: Cavities can also lead to white, brown, or black stains on your tooth's surface.

Remember, the absence of pain doesn't necessarily mean you're cavity-free. Regular dental check-ups are crucial in detecting and treating cavities early.

How Are Cavities Treated?

The treatment for cavities depends on the extent of tooth decay. Your dentist will determine the best course of action based on your individual circumstances. Here are some common treatments:

  • Fillings: This is the most common treatment for cavities. The dentist will remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned-out cavity with a filling material.
  • Crowns: For severe decay or weakened teeth, a crown, or cap, might be necessary. Crowns are custom fitted to cover the entire tooth after decayed material has been removed.
  • Root Canals: If decay reaches the tooth's inner pulp, a root canal may be needed. The damaged pulp is removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.
  • Tooth Extractions: Some teeth are so severely decayed that they can't be saved and must be removed. An extraction is typically the last resort, and the extracted tooth is usually replaced with an implant or bridge to restore function and aesthetics.

Preventing Cavities

Prevention is better than cure, and that's certainly true with cavities. A consistent oral hygiene routine can help prevent cavities. This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Flossing daily to remove plaque from between your teeth
  • Limiting sugary and acidic foods
  • Regular dental check-ups and cleanings

In conclusion, while cavities can cause discomfort and even severe pain, the good news is they're preventable and treatable. Regular dental check-ups are essential in detecting early signs of cavities and receiving prompt treatment. If you're experiencing any signs of a cavity, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.