How do you know that you have tooth decay?
The thing about tooth decay is that it develops very silently for a couple of months and chances are that you’ll be oblivious to the fact that you have a budding cavity that is developing. However, when the cavity has reached all the way to the pulp layer where all of the sensitive soft tissues are housed in, you will progressively feel pain radiating from that tooth. This is because bacteria will have infiltrated the nerve endings found within the heart of the tooth, and the stimulation is perceived by these nerves as pain.
But as previously mentioned, tooth decay develops rather slowly and is often void of telling signs. For this reason, regular dental check-ups are crucial so that your dentist can spot cavities which are in their beginning stages.
How can your dentist spot cavities?
Your dentist can manually prod your teeth for cavities with the help of a special tooth that resembles a hook. The hook will allow your dentist to explore surfaces of your teeth and check out any holes even in the tiny crevices.
But for a more thorough manner of searching for cavities, your dentist can order a dental x-ray of your teeth. X-rays are effective in spotting cavities in their early stages.
How are cavities treated?
When it comes to cavities, the earlier that you have them treated the better the outcome will be for you. For minor cavities, your dentist can perform a routine drill and fill procedure. This procedure involves drilling out the cavity in order to get rid of decayed material and then filling it with a filling material whether that be composite resin or amalgam.
In severe instances, you might need to go through a root canal procedure in order to kill off the nerves which are causing the pain. Another option is to extract the tooth. However, the advantage of going for a root canal procedure instead of an extraction is that you get to preserve the tooth. Nevertheless, extreme circumstances will require the eventual removal of the tooth especially if only a small fraction of the tooth is left that a root canal procedure no longer becomes practical.
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