Don’t Ignore These 5 Tooth Decay Symptoms

tooth decay symptomsCavities were once a life-threatening disease and even today remain a major reason for emergency room visits. With more and more research proving the intricate connection between oral health and overall wellness, people are beginning to pay better attention to these tooth decay symptoms to stay healthy.

1. Watch for Sensitivity to Hot or Cold Foods and Drinks

Sometimes there are just random zings that occur for no apparent reason, but hot or cold sensitivity is usually a symptom that your enamel is thinning. This loss of tooth structure can be caused from wear, aggressive brushing, abrasive toothpaste use, and acid from your diet. If the tooth suffers enough erosion and wear it will result in a cavity and need treatment. If it’s a liquid acid that is causing the pain, it is smart to use a mouthwash with fluoride so that it can flow in the same exact areas to re-mineralize the tooth.

2. Experiencing Sharp Pain with Sweets, or Pain When Biting Down

Pain when eating sweets is an early warning symptom of cavities that shouldn’t be ignored. The sugar and acid of sweets are causing pain receptors in your “dentin” to go off. Dentin is the inner spongy layer of the tooth that is protected by the hard enamel shell. Under a microscope, it looks like Swiss cheese, with hundreds of these little tubes sensing environment changes and sending information back to the nerve. In this stage, using a gentle, soft toothbrush, a good fluoridated toothpaste and one with potassium nitrate, which usually does the trick to soothe the tooth.

3. Staining on Tooth Surfaces or Specific Teeth

All of our back teeth have pits or grooves in the chewing surface. For those who have deeper grooves, their decay risk is higher. Microscopic bacteria and debris get trapped in the grooves and if not effectively cleaned away, they can start to cause staining. Stains can be many shades from brown to deep black, but this “visual warning” without pain is something to note because it is a beginning stage of a cavity. This symptom is why dentists recommend sealants. It blocks out the chewing surfaces before the bacteria, debris and stains even start!

4. If You’re Seeing Visible Holes or Pits in Teeth

Many patients arrive at the dentist too late with a noticeable cavity. The tooth may have had early symptoms at one time, but now there’s a visible hole that can be seen or felt. At this point, the tooth needs some form of restorative treatment, such as a white filling.

5. A Toothache or Sensitivity that Keeps Getting Your Attention

You knew the tooth has had symptoms of a cavity for months, but due to lack of time or money – your tooth finally has constant pain. The most inner portion of the tooth, the nerve or pulp, now also needs treatment as well… likely a root canal. As long as you catch things early, you can avoid an extraction.

Don’t lose your tooth for good; catch cavities in the early stages by looking for these five symptoms and seeing the   to keep your smile healthy. Call us today for a free consultation.


Are you concerned you may have tooth decay symptoms? Schedule an appointment with Ventura restorative dentist Dr. David Satnick, DDS, or for more information call 805.639.3050 now!

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