Oral bacteria can cause common dental problems including tooth decay and dental caries. As we eat, our mouth produces acids. These acids can damage tooth enamel and lead to the formation of cavities. When left untreated, cavities can worsen, causing dental pain, gum tissue infection, and even tooth loss.
To prevent these unpleasant outcomes, it is crucial to detect and treat tooth decay early. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of tooth decay and address oral health issues promptly.
1. Sensitivity to Hot and Cold Food and Drinks
Experiencing a sudden, sharp pain in your teeth when consuming hot or cold food or drinks may indicate tooth decay. This tooth sensitivity can be caused by the enamel erosion exposing a tooth’s inner layers. Worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots can cause sensitivity to temperature changes.
These common oral health issues can cause tooth sensitivity.
- A cavity.
- Cracked or chipped tooth.
- A worn filling.
- Gum disease.
A dental evaluation can determine the cause of tooth discomfort. An ICAT scan may be provided after a visual dental examination to help identify the cause of tooth pain and sensitivity.
2. Tooth Pain
Toothaches can be a sign of various dental problems, one of which is tooth decay. The pain may be dull, sharp, or throbbing. It can also radiate to the ear or jaw.
During a dental visit, your dentist can identify the cause of tooth pain and offer solutions. The Mayo Clinic points to dental recommendations to treat tooth pain.
- Over-the-counter ADA-recommended toothpaste products for sensitive teeth.
- A professional fluoride treatment to strengthen tooth enamel.
- Dental bonding to repair chips, close gaps, or change the shape and color of a tooth.
Seeking dental care for toothaches is essential for maintaining oral health. Your dentist can accurately diagnose the cause of the pain and provide appropriate solutions. With the right care, you can reduce or eliminate your toothache and find relief.
3. Visible Holes or Pits in Teeth
When tooth decay progresses, it can create visible holes or pits on the surface of affected teeth. These holes or pits in teeth can be yellow, brown, or black in color, depending on the severity of the decay.
Dental treatment for damaged teeth may include one or more of the following:
- Dental fillings to replace missing enamel and protect the remaining tooth structure.
- Root canals remove infection from the center of a damaged tooth and prevent it from spreading to other teeth.
- Crowns to cover a damaged tooth with artificial enamel and strengthen it.
- Dental implants replace a missing tooth with an artificial solution that looks and functions like a natural tooth.
Treat any signs of visible decay before they worsen or cause more tooth damage. A dentist can recommend proper oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and flossing, to help prevent further decay. With regular visits and good dental habits, you can enjoy a healthy smile.
Bad breath or halitosis is a common problem caused by the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Tooth decay can lead to persistent bad breath that is difficult to mask with mints, gum, or mouthwash.
Mouth bacteria is responsible for halitosis. Oral bacteria lingers on food bits stuck to the back of the tongue or in pockets between gums and teeth. This bacteria can create a sulfurous compound reaction, which smells like cabbage or rotting eggs.
Tobacco smoking is a leading contributor to halitosis. Smoking causes dry mouth. It can also lead to inflamed gums and oral irritation.
Avoid sugary mints or sticky peppermint candies as a short-term solution to cover bad breath. They can cause tooth decay and lasting dental damage. Opt for high-fiber, nutrient-rich food and drinks with calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium to build strong teeth and healthy gums.
Keep halitosis at bay. Drink plenty of water to prevent dry mouth. Brush teeth for two minutes twice a day, floss daily, and rinse with an ADA-recommended mouthwash.
Professional dental cleanings every six months can help treat and prevent halitosis. Speak to your dentist if persistent bad breath doesn’t go away. They can help you identify the cause of bad breath and provide a customized treatment plan for lasting results.
5. Discoloration of Teeth
Tooth decay can cause a discolored look on teeth. This can range from chalky white spots to yellow, brown, or black stains on teeth. A change in the appearance of teeth can indicate demineralization or decay of tooth enamel.
To prevent the risk of surface stains, limit or eliminate smoking and consuming stain-causing foods and beverages. Each time you consume a stain-causing food or drink, plaque bacteria deposits absorb onto teeth. Plaque bacteria can form a rough surface on enamel. Dental professionals can remove plaque and eliminate stains sticking to teeth through professional cleaning, scaling, or polishing.
Stains can also affect dentures. Full and partial dentures can be susceptible to bacteria that can cause bad breath, gum infection, and other oral health problems.
Include soaking, brushing, and rinsing dentures in your daily care routine. To provide an added layer of protection, rinse dentures under running water using a soft towel or bowl of water. This can help prevent dentures from breaking if dropped while rinsing.
Dental Implant Cleaning
Keep dental implants clean and free of plaque. Brush and use other dental implant-approved cleaning methods, such as mouthwash, interdental brushes, and water flossers. These daily oral health practices help improve dental health.
Consult a dental professional for additional dental cleaning and care tips for natural teeth, dentures, and dental implants. A dentist can help identify the underlying cause of tooth discoloration. They can also suggest a proper dental treatment plan to treat and eliminate tooth decay.
Get Dental Treatment Solutions for Damaged Teeth
Schedule a dental check-up and examination to treat common symptoms of tooth decay. Your dentist can recommend dental solutions to address tooth decay, such as a filling, crown, or root canal.
Depending on the extent of damage, your dentist may suggest alternatives to replace missing teeth. Tooth replacement options include dental implants, bridges, or dentures. Sedation dentistry options are available to ease dental fear and anxiety for patients who qualify for the treatment.
Early treatment of tooth decay can save your teeth from more serious dental issues down the road. Regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining good oral health. Contact Three Rivers Dental Group by calling 1-855-NO FEARS or request an appointment online to explore our dental solutions. Our dental offices are conveniently located throughout the Pittsburgh area in Cranberry, Greentree, Greensburg, and Jennerstown.