Do you know more than 90% of adults get a cavity in the USA every year? This means that one in every four adults is prone to developing a cavity in their teeth. In fact, the count might actually be greater than that since most people tend to categorize cavity pain as normal. But is it normal? Do cavities even hurt? In this blog, we’ll answer all your burning questions about cavities, so keep on reading.
What is a Cavity?
Cavities are also known as Dental Caries. They result from your tooth’s enamel getting damaged and usually occur when it starts to decay. Technically, a cavity is just a tooth rot. When the outer covering of your teeth (enamel) and its insides (dentin and pulp) get infected by bacteria, it gives way for a cavity to form.
What Causes a Cavity?
A cavity can develop due to poor hygiene, among a myriad of other reasons. Essentially, the bacteria leftover from sugary foods and drinks can stick to your teeth. Plus, if the bacteria is then not properly cleaned, it can thicken over the tooth’s surface and form a slimy coating on top. This unsettling layer of bacteria is known as Plaque.
Plaque is extremely acidic, and once it hardens, it can further transform into Tartar. Or in most cases, it can lead to dental cavities.
Since your tooth has so many nooks and crevices for the bacteria to sneak in, sometimes people who regularly brush their teeth and floss can also get cavities.
Do Cavities Hurt?
Typically, a cavity starts as a tiny hole. This is a direct consequence of the acid eating away the tooth’s enamel. During this stage, there is almost no pain. If anything, the discoloration is the only thing to note.
However, over time, if the cavity is not taken care of, the tooth decay can advance over to the core of your tooth. This is where the pain will start to appear and gradually get worse. Every time you eat or drink, there is a sharp, stinging pain to be met with. Moreover, you might also experience severe tooth sensitivity.
Although, it’s crucial to keep in mind that everyone has a different tolerance for pain. Where some people might have a knee-jerk reaction to the toothache, others might just shrug it off. Nonetheless, leaving a cavity untreated could be very dangerous.
What Does a Cavity Look Like?
Identifying a cavity isn’t all that easy. In fact, during its early stages, you might not even notice anything different unless you have a laser-sharp vision. However, as the cavity progresses, you will begin to notice its signs.
At first, it might seem like white spots are sprouting on your tooth. This is the enamel erosion stage, where white, chalk-like flecks start to appear. Once the cavity breaks deeper into your tooth, the color tends to change from white to a dark yellow and then to a brownish-black color. This color palette, paired with the hurt, is enough to let you know you have a cavity.
How Long Can You Leave a Cavity Untreated?
Dental caries do not vanish on their own. In fact, leaving a cavity untreated could potentially lead to much more severe problems, especially in the long. This is why it is important to get dental care as soon as possible in the case of a cavity.
All in all, many people tend to wonder, ‘do cavities hurt?’ and the quick answer to that is: It depends. Sticking to your oral hygiene regimen is crucial for your overall dental health. For more information, contact Spring Cypress Dental at (281) 256-3222.