Tooth Decay Symptoms
In the early stage of tooth decay, you may not exhibit any symptoms depending on where the tooth decay is occurring and its severity. As the decay gets larger, common symptoms you may experience include:
- Staining on the surface of your teeth, such as black, brown, or grey spots
- Pain when biting down
- Toothache for no identifiable reason
- Visible pits or holes in your teeth
- Discomfort when drinking or eating something cold, hot or sweet
- Tooth sensitivity
- Unpleasant taste in mouth
- Chronic halitosis
Complications of Tooth Decay
Because they are so common, many people do not take development of tooth decay and cavities seriously, but there are serious and potentially long-lasting complications that can occur if tooth decay occurs and is not corrected, including the following:
- Issues with chewing
- Damaged or broken teeth
- Swelling or pus around the tooth
- Tooth loss
- Tooth abscess
- Tooth loss
- Shift in the positioning of your teeth following tooth loss
Preventing Tooth Decay
Although everyone is at some risk of developing tooth decay, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk, which include:
- Use a fluoride-containing toothpaste twice daily and floss daily to clean between your teeth.
- Schedule regular oral exams and professional teeth cleanings
- Individuals at an increased risk of tooth decay may benefit from using a fluoride mouth rinse
- Avoid snacking between meals. Every time you snack, more bacteria is produced in your mouth, which increases your risk of tooth decay.
- When you do eat, stick with foods that increase saliva flow, like fresh fruits and vegetables. It is also important to drink beverages like water, unsweetened coffee or tea to wash away food particles.
- People with underlying health issues that increase their risk of tooth decay should include an antibacterial mouth rinse as part of their daily oral hygiene routine.
- If you are not getting a sufficient amount of fluoride, you may benefit from using fluoride trays, which apply fluoride to your teeth using custom fit trays.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Even if you are not experiencing any symptoms of tooth decay, it is still important to schedule regular cleanings and exams biannually. During these appointments, your dentist will evaluate your oral health to look for any early indications of tooth decay, which is much easier and far less costly to treat if done so in its early stages.
If tooth decay is identified, treatment options will be discussed. If your tooth decay is still in the early stages, you may be able to reverse the decay by improving your oral hygiene routines, modifying your diet or lifestyle habits, and/or with a deep cleaning or scaling and root planning procedure. A filling or crown may be necessary if the tooth decay has progressed but has not yet spread to the pulp. If the tooth decay is more advanced and has spread to the pulp, a root canal may be necessary. For severe tooth decay, a tooth extraction may be your best option. To determine if you are experiencing tooth decay and require treatment, schedule an appointment with your dentist or periodontist as soon as possible.